PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Infectious Diseases - Respiratory Medicine

Repertoire of Intensive Care Unit Pneumonia Microbiota
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Author: Sabri Bousbia et al.

by Sabri Bousbia, Laurent Papazian, Pierre Saux, Jean Marie Forel, Jean-Pierre Auffray, Claude Martin, Didier Raoult, Bernard La Scola

Despite the considerable number of studies reported to date, the causative agents of pneumonia are not completely identified. We comprehensively applied modern and traditional laboratory diagnostic techniques to identify microbiota in patients who were admitted to or developed pneumonia in intensive care units (ICUs). During a three-year period, we tested the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia, community-acquired pneumonia, non-ventilator ICU pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia, and compared the results with those from patients without pneumonia (controls). Samples were tested by amplification of 16S rDNA, 18S rDNA genes followed by cloning and sequencing and by PCR to target specific pathogens. We also included culture, amoeba co-culture, detection of antibodies to selected agents and urinary antigen tests. Based on molecular testing, we identified a wide repertoire of 160 bacterial species of which 73 have not been previously reported in pneumonia. Moreover, we found 37 putative new bacterial phylotypes with a 16S rDNA gene divergence =98% from known phylotypes. We also identified 24 fungal species of which 6 have not been previously reported in pneumonia and 7 viruses. Patients can present up to 16 different microorganisms in a single BAL (mean ± SD; 3.77±2.93). Some pathogens considered to be typical for ICU pneumonia such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus species can be detected as commonly in controls as in pneumonia patients which strikingly highlights the existence of a core pulmonary microbiota. Differences in the microbiota of different forms of pneumonia were documented.