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Journal Articles Clinical Microbiology Reviews Year : 2017

The Role of Antibiotics in Modulating Virulence in Staphylococcus aureus


Staphylococcus aureus is often involved in severe infections, in which the effects of bacterial virulence factors have great importance. Antistaphylococcal regimens should take into account the different effects of antibacterial agents on the expression of virulence factors and on the host's immune response. A PubMed literature search was performed to select relevant articles on the effects of antibiotics on staphylococcal toxin production and on the host immune response. Information was sorted according to the methods used for data acquisition (bacterial strains, growth models, and antibiotic concentrations) and the assays used for readout generation. The reported mechanisms underlying S. aureus virulence modulation by antibiotics were reviewed. The relevance of in vitro observations is discussed in relation to animal model data and to clinical evidence extracted from case reports and recommendations on the management of toxin-related staphylococcal diseases. Most in vitro data point to a decreased level of virulence expression upon treatment with ribosomally active antibiotics (linezolid and clindamycin), while cell wall-active antibiotics (beta-lactams) mainly increase exotoxin production. In vivo studies confirmed the suppressive effect of clindamycin and linezolid on virulence expression, supporting their utilization as a valuable management strategy to improve patient outcomes in cases of toxin-associated staphylococcal disease.

Dates and versions

hal-01911294 , version 1 (02-11-2018)



Elisabeth Hodille, Warren Rose, Binh An Diep, Sylvain Goutelle, Gérard Lina, et al.. The Role of Antibiotics in Modulating Virulence in Staphylococcus aureus. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 2017, 30 (4), pp.887-917. ⟨10.1128/CMR.00120-16⟩. ⟨hal-01911294⟩
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