Comparison of metabolic adaptation and biofilm formation of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae field isolates from the upper and lower respiratory tract of swine with respiratory disease
Most outbreaks of disease due to infection with Actinobacillus (A.) pleuropneumoniae are caused by pigs already pre-colonised in tonsillar tissue, where the pathogen is protected from exposure to antibiotic substances administered for treatment. As it has been shown recently under experimental conditions, A. pleuropneumoniae displays host tissue-specific metabolic adaptation. In this study, pairs of A. pleuropneumoniae field isolates were recovered from lung as well as from tonsillar and nasal tissue from 20 pigs suffering from acute clinical signs of pleuropneumonia and showing characteristic pathological lung alterations. Metabolic adaptation to the porcine lower and upper respiratory tract of 32 A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 field isolates was examined using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy as a high resolution metabolic fingerprinting method. All strains showed metabolic adaptations to organ tissue reflected by hierarchical cluster analysis of FTIR spectra similar to those previously observed under experimental conditions. Notably, differences in antimicrobial resistance patterns and minimal inhibitory concentrations of isolates from different tissues in the same animal, but not in biofilm production capability in a microtiter plate assay were found. Overall, biofilm formation was observed for 71 % of the isolates, confirming that A. pleuropneumoniae field isolates are generally able to form biofilms, although rather in a serotype-specific than in an organ-specific manner. A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 6 isolates formed significantly more biofilm than the other serotypes. Furthermore, biofilm production was negatively correlated to the lung lesion scores and tonsillar isolates tended to be more susceptible to antimicrobial substances with high bioavailability than lung isolates.