Isolation and characterization of Corynebacterium ulcerans from cephalic implants in macaques.

  • Bergin I
  • Chien C
  • Marini R
 et al. 
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To determine the prevalence of colonization by Corynebacterium ulcerans, we cultured samples from the cephalic implant-skin margin and pharynx of 26 rhesus macaques and one pig-tailed macaque. All but one of the samples from the cephalic implants yielded a mixed population of bacteria. C. ulcerans grew from the cephalic implants in 56% and from the pharynx in 3% of the implanted animals. We screened nine of these isolates for diphtheria toxin (DT) and phospholipase D (PLD). Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) failed to identify DT in any of the tested isolates, which also lacked DT activity in Elek tests. However, all nine isolates tested had PLD toxin activity as determined by conjoint hemolysis on sheep blood agar plates in the presence of equi factor (Rhodococcus equi). In addition, PCR assays and Southern blot hybridization confirmed the presence of pld in the isolates. The role of the PLD toxin in promoting colonization of cephalic implants by C. ulcerans is unknown. We found C. ulcerans to be a frequent contaminant of the cephalic implant-skin margin. Further studies are necessary to investigate the relative clinical importance of this organism and the efficacy of various implant maintenance protocols in preventing infection.

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  • I L Bergin

  • C C Chien

  • R P Marini

  • J G Fox

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