Clonal population of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains reside within multiple lung cavities.

Unsuccessful treatment outcomes among patients with multi-/extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) have hampered efforts involved in eradicating this disease. In order to better understand the etiology of this disease, we aimed to determine whether single or multiple strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) are localized within lung cavities of patients suffering from chronic progressive TB.

Multiple cavity isolates from lung of 5 patients who had undergone pulmonary resection surgery were analyzed on the basis of their drug susceptibility profile, and genotyped by spoligotyping and 24-loci MIRU-VNTR. The patients past history including treatment was studied. Three of the 5 patients had extensive drug resistant TB. Heteroresistance was also reported within different cavity isolates of the lung. Both genotyping methods reported the presence of clonal population of MTB strain within different cavities of the each patient, even those reporting heteroresistance. Four of the 5 patients were infected with a population of the Beijing genotype. Post-surgery they were prescribed a drug regimen consisting of cycloserine, a fluoroquinolone and an injectable drug. A 6 month post-surgery follow-up reported only 2 patients with positive clinical outcome, showing sputum conversion.

Identical spoligotype patterns and MIRU-VNTR profiles between multiple cavities of each patient, characterize the presence of clonal population of MTB strains (and absence of multiple MTB infection).

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