Potential of #lactoferrin to prevent #antibiotic-induced #Clostridium difficile #infection (J Antimicrob Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Potential of lactoferrin to prevent antibiotic-induced Clostridium difficile infection [      ]

C. H. Chilton 1, G. S. Crowther 1, K. Śpiewak 2, M. Brindell 2, G. Singh 3, M. H. Wilcox 1 and T. M. Monaghan 3,*

Author Affiliations: 1Leeds Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK 2Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland 3NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

*Corresponding author. Tel: +44-(0)115-9249924; Fax: +44-(0)115-9709955; E-mail: tanya.monaghan@nottingham.ac.uk

Received August 8, 2015. Revision requested September 27, 2015. Revision received October 20, 2015. Accepted November 24, 2015.




Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a global healthcare problem. Recent evidence suggests that the availability of iron may be important for C. difficile growth. This study evaluated the comparative effects of iron-depleted (1% Fe3+ saturated) bovine apo-lactoferrin (apo-bLf) and iron-saturated (85% Fe3+ saturated) bovine holo-lactoferrin (holo-bLf) in a human in vitro gut model that simulates CDI.


Two parallel triple-stage chemostat gut models were inoculated with pooled human faeces and spiked with C. difficile spores (strain 027 210, PCR ribotype 027). Holo- or apo-bLf was instilled (5 mg/mL, once daily) for 35 days. After 7 days, clindamycin was instilled (33.9 mg/L, four times daily) to induce simulated CDI. Indigenous microflora populations, C. difficile total counts and spores, cytotoxin titres, short chain fatty acid concentrations, biometal concentrations, lactoferrin concentration and iron content of lactoferrin were monitored daily.


In the apo-bLf model, germination of C. difficile spores occurred 6 days post instillation of clindamycin, followed by rapid vegetative cell proliferation and detectable toxin production. By contrast, in the holo-bLf model, only a modest vegetative cell population was observed until 16 days post antibiotic administration. Notably, no toxin was detected in this model. In separate batch culture experiments, holo-bLf prevented C. difficile vegetative cell growth and toxin production, whereas apo-bLf and iron alone did not.


Holo-bLf, but not apo-bLf, delayed C. difficile growth and prevented toxin production in a human gut model of CDI. This inhibitory effect may be iron independent. These observations suggest that bLf in its iron-saturated state could be used as a novel preventative or treatment strategy for CDI.

© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords: Research; Abstracts; Clostridium difficile; Lactoferrin.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.