Fluoroquinolone treatment of experimental Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 infectionsin chickens selects for both gyrA mutations and changes in efflux pump gene expression

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives: To determine the efficacy of enrofloxacin (Baytril) in chickens in eradicating three different resistance phenotypes of Salmonella enterica and to examine the resistance mechanisms of resulting mutants. Methods: In two separate replicate experiments (I and 11), three strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 [strain A, fully antibiotic-sensitive strain; strain B, isogenic multiple antibiotic-resistant (MAR) derivative of A; strain C, veterinary penta-resistant phenotype strain containing GyrA Phe-83], were inoculated into day-old chicks at similar to 10(3) Cfu/bird. At day 10, groups of chicks (n =10) were given either enrofloxacin at 50 ppm in their drinking water for 5 days or water alone (control). Caecal contents were monitored for presence of Salmonella and colonies were replica plated to media containing antibiotics or overlaid with cyclohexane to determine the proportion of isolates with reduced susceptibility. The MICs of antibiotics and cyclohexane tolerance were determined for selected isolates from the chicks. Mutations in topoisomerase genes were examined by DHPLC and expression of marA, soxS, acrB, acrD and acrF by RT-PCR. Results: In experiment 1, but not 11, enrofloxacin significantly reduced the numbers of strain A compared with the untreated control group. In experiment 11, but not 1, enrofloxacin significantly reduced the numbers of strain B. Shedding of strain C was unaffected by enrofloxacin treatment. Birds infected with strains A and B gave rise to isolates with decreased fluoroquinolone susceptibility. Isolates derived from strain A or B requiring > 128 mg/L nalidixic acid for inhibition contained GyrA Asn-82 or Phe-83. Isolates inhibited by 16 mg/L nalidixic acid were also less susceptible to antibiotics of other chemical classes and became cyclohexane-tolerant (e.g. MAR). Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that recommended enrofloxacin treatment of chicks rapidly selects for strains with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility from fully sensitive and MAR strains. It can also select for MAR isolates.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-306
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2005


  • quinolone resistance, cyclohexane tolerance, MAR