Underlying mechanisms of carbapenem resistance in extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli isolates at a tertiary care centre in Lebanon: role of OXA-48 and NDM-1 carbapenemases.

Research paper by M M Baroud, I I Dandache, G F GF Araj, R R Wakim, S S Kanj, Z Z Kanafani, M M Khairallah, A A Sabra, M M Shehab, G G Dbaibo, G M GM Matar

Indexed on: 13 Nov '12Published on: 13 Nov '12Published in: International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents


A recent increase in carbapenem resistance among extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli isolates at a major tertiary care centre in Lebanon prompted the initiation of this study. Consecutive ESBL-producing isolates were tested for resistance to carbapenems, with initial screening by disk diffusion and Etest using ertapenem. The modified Hodge test was also performed. PCR of β-lactamase-encoding genes, including bla(NDM-1), bla(KPC), bla(OXA-48), bla(CTX-M), bla(TEM), bla(SHV), bla(CMY-2) and bla(OXA-1), as well as outer membrane porin genes (ompC and ompF) was performed. Sequencing, efflux pump inhibitor tests and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis were performed. In total, 14 (2.45%) of 572 K. pneumoniae and 24 (1.07%) of 2243 E. coli were ertapenem-non-susceptible [minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ≥0.25 μg/mL]. Resistance to other carbapenems was variable. PCR and sequencing analysis revealed that isolates harboured different β-lactamase genes, including bla(OXA-1), bla(CTX-M-15), bla(TEM-1), bla(CMY-2), bla(OXA-48) and bla(NDM-1). In addition, K. pneumoniae lacked the outer membrane porin-encoding genes, whilst E. coli harboured them with detected mutations. CTX-M-15 was carried on a 90 kb plasmid, whilst OXA-48 was carried on a 70 kb plasmid. Efflux pump inhibition significantly decreased MICs in E. coli. RAPD analysis demonstrated genomic variability. In conclusion, carbapenem resistance in ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae and E. coli is due to the combined effect of β-lactamases with porin impermeability and/or efflux pump activity observed in these organisms, and in a number of isolates is due to the production of the carbapenemase-encoding genes bla(OXA-48) and the newly emerging bla(NDM-1).