Systemic infection facilitates transmission of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in mice

Kelly E.R. Bachta*, Jonathan P. Allen, Bettina H. Cheung, Cheng Hsun Chiu, Alan R. Hauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Health care-associated infections such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteremia pose a major clinical risk for hospitalized patients. However, these systemic infections are presumed to be a “dead-end” for P. aeruginosa and to have no impact on transmission. Here, we use a mouse infection model to show that P. aeruginosa can spread from the bloodstream to the gallbladder, where it replicates to extremely high numbers. Bacteria in the gallbladder can then seed the intestines and feces, leading to transmission to uninfected cage-mate mice. Our work shows that the gallbladder is crucial for spread of P. aeruginosa from the bloodstream to the feces during bacteremia, a process that promotes transmission in this experimental system. Further research is needed to test to what extent these findings are relevant to infections in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number543
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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