Christina S Eshaghurshan

The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Publications (3)12.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The microbiome of the respiratory tract, including the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal microbiota, is a dynamic community of microorganisms that is highly diverse. The cystic fibrosis (CF) airway microbiome refers to the polymicrobial communities present in the lower airways of CF patients. It is comprised of chronic opportunistic pathogens (such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and a variety of organisms derived mostly from the normal microbiota of the upper respiratory tract. The complexity of these communities has been inferred primarily from culture independent molecular profiling. As with most microbial communities it is generally assumed that most of the organisms present are not readily cultured. Our culture collection generated using more extensive cultivation approaches, reveals a more complex microbial community than that obtained by conventional CF culture methods. To directly evaluate the cultivability of the airway microbiome, we examined six samples in depth using culture-enriched molecular profiling which combines culture-based methods with the molecular profiling methods of terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We demonstrate that combining culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches enhances the sensitivity of either approach alone. Our techniques were able to cultivate 43 of the 48 families detected by deep sequencing; the five families recovered solely by culture-independent approaches were all present at very low abundance (<0.002% total reads). 46% of the molecular signatures detected by culture from the six patients were only identified in an anaerobic environment, suggesting that a large proportion of the cultured airway community is composed of obligate anaerobes. Most significantly, using 20 growth conditions per specimen, half of which included anaerobic cultivation and extended incubation times we demonstrate that the majority of bacteria present can be cultured.
    PLoS ONE 07/2011; 6(7):e22702. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organisms belonging to the Streptococcus milleri group (SMG) are known for their role in pyogenic infections but have recently been implicated as etiological agents of pulmonary exacerbation in adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The prolonged exposure of CF patients to antibiotics prompted us to investigate the susceptibility profiles of 118 SMG isolates from the airways of CF patients to 12 antibiotics compared to 43 SMG isolates from patients with invasive infections. We found that approximately 60% of all isolates failed to grow using the standard medium for disc diffusion, Mueller-Hinton blood agar (MHBA), so we explored the usefulness of brain heart infusion (BHI) agar for susceptibility testing. Zone-of-inhibition comparisons between BHI and MHBA showed strong correlations for six antibiotics, and interpretations were similar for both medium types. For ceftriaxone and cefepime, both groups of isolates were highly susceptible. Tetracycline resistance levels were comparable between the two groups (22% in CF isolates and 17.4% in invasive isolates). However, more than half of the CF isolates were not susceptible to azithromycin, erythromycin, and clindamycin, compared to 11%, 13%, and 6.5% of invasive isolates, respectively. There were 5-fold and 8-fold increased risks of azithromycin and clindamycin resistance, respectively, for the isolates from the airways of CF patients relative to the invasive isolates. Macrolide resistance was strongly linked to chronic azithromycin therapy in CF patients. This study shows that BHI agar is a suitable alternative for antimicrobial susceptibility testing for the SMG and that SMG isolates from the airways of CF patients are more resistant to macrolides and clindamycin than strains isolated from patients with invasive infections.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 07/2010; 54(7):2823-9. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With the recent insights into the Streptococcus milleri group (SMG) as pulmonary pathogens in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), we sought to characterize 128 isolates from the sputum of adults with CF, along with 45 isolates from patients with invasive diseases for comparison. The tests performed included Lancefield grouping; tests for hemolysis; tests for the production of hyaluronidase, chondroitin sulfatase, DNase, proteases, and hydrogen peroxide; and PCR for the detection of the intermedilysin gene (ily). We also generated biochemical profiles with the Rapid ID Strep 32 API system and tested cell-free supernatants for the presence of the signal molecule autoinducer-2 (AI-2) using a Vibrio harveyi bioassay with a subset of CF strains. The S. intermedius isolates from both strain collections were similar, while the S. constellatus and S. anginosus isolates yielded several biotypes that differed in prevalence between the two strain collections. Beta-hemolytic, Lancefield group C S. constellatus comprised 74.4% of the S. constellatus isolates from patients with CF but only 13.3% of the corresponding isolates from patients with invasive infections. This was the only S. constellatus biotype associated with pulmonary exacerbations. Hyaluronidase-positive S. anginosus was detected only among the isolates from patients with CF. Strain-to-strain variability in AI-2 expression was evident, with the mean values being the highest for S. anginosus, followed by S. constellatus and then S. intermedius. Cluster analysis and 16S rRNA sequencing revealed that the species of SMG could be accurately determined with a minimum of three phenotypic tests: tests for the Lancefield group, hyaluronidase production, and chondroitin sulfatase production. Furthermore, isolates from patients with invasive infections clustered with isolates from the sputum of patients with CF, suggesting that the respiratory tract isolates were equally pathogenic.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 12/2009; 48(2):395-401. · 4.23 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

60 Citations
12.33 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • The University of Calgary
      • Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada