SUMMARY. The iron concentration in the culture medium used to prepare the inocula influenced the virulence of in a chronic pulmonary infection model in rats. Groups of rats were given transtracheal inocula of agar beads in which were embedded . 10 cfu of strain PAO and the mutants of strain PAO, Fe5 and Fe18. When strain PAO was grown in low-iron medium before infection, it caused severe parenchymal changes including a dense mononuclear cell infiltration in the alveolar spaces, as well as intra- and peribronchial inflammation. When strain PAO was grown in high-iron medium, the pathological changes in lungs were restricted to intra- and peribronchial inflammation. Strain Fe5, in which the effect of iron on yields of elastase is deregulated, produced similar pathological changes regardless of whether it was grown in low- or high-iron media. All rats infected with strain Fel8, in which the effect of iron on yields of toxin A is deregulated, died within 48 h after infection. These data indicate that the iron concentration of the culture medium can influence the pathogenesis of in a chronic respiratory infection. These studies also suggest that the regulation of extracellular virulence factors by iron is important in the determination of virulence.


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