Urinary catheter-associated microbiota change in accordance with treatment and infection status
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© 2017 Bossa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The use of long-term catheterisation to manage insensate bladders, often associated with spinal cord injury (SCI), increases the risk of microbial colonisation and infection of the urinary tract. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is typically diagnosed and treated based on the culturing of organisms from the urine, although this approach overlooks low titer, slow growing and non-traditional pathogens. Here, we present an investigation of the urinary tract microbiome in catheterised SCI individuals, using T-RFLP and metagenomic sequencing of the microbial community. We monitored three neurogenic patients over a period of 12 months, who were part of a larger study investigating the efficacy of probiotics in controlling UTIs, to determine how their urinary tract microbial community composition changed over time and in relation to probiotic treatment regimens. Bacterial biofilms adherent to urinary catheters were examined as a proxy for bladder microbes. The microbial community composition of the urinary tract differed significantly between individuals. Probiotic therapy resulted in a significant change in the microbial community associated with the catheters. The community also changed as a consequence of UTI and this shift in community composition preceded the clinical diagnosis of infection. Changes in the microbiota due to probiotic treatment or infection were transient, resolving to microbial communities similar to their pre-treatment communities, suggesting that the native community was highly resilient. Based on these results, we propose that monitoring a patient’s microbial community can be used to track the health of chronically catheterized patients and thus, can be used as part of a health-status monitoring program.
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