Perez-Losada Published in Spinal Cord Series and Cases

October 01, 2018

Dr Marcos Perez-Losada (Assistant Professor, Computational Biology Institute and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics) co-authored an article, "Identification of Burkholderia fungorum in the urine of an individual with spinal cord injury and augmentation cystoplasty using 16S sequencing: copathogen or innocent bystander?" in Spinal Cord Series and Cases, published on September 21st, 2018. The article notes that people with neuropathic bladder (NB) secondary to spinal cord injury (SCI) are at risk for multiple genitourinary complications, the most frequent of which is urinary tract infection (UTI). Despite the high frequency with which UTI occurs, our understanding of the role of urinary microbes in health and disease is limited. In this paper, the authors present the first prospective case study integrating symptom reporting, urinalysis, urine cultivation, and 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) sequencing of the urine microbiome. A 55-year-old male with NB secondary to SCI contributed 12 urine samples over an 8-month period during asymptomatic, symptomatic, and postantibiotic periods. All bacteria identified on culture were present on 16S rRNA sequencing, however, 16S rRNA sequencing revealed the presence of bacteria not isolated on culture. In particular, Burkholderia fungorum was present in three samples during both asymptomatic and symptomatic periods. White blood cells of ≥5–10/high power field and leukocyte esterase ≥2 on urinalysis was associated with the presence of symptoms. In this patient, there was a predominance of pathogenic bacteria and a lack of putative probiotic bacteria during both symptomatic and asymptomatic states. Urinalysis-defined inflammatory markers were present to a greater extent during symptomatic periods compared to the asymptomatic state, which may underscore a role for urinalysis or other inflammatory markers in differentiating asymptomatic bacteriuria from UTI in patients with NB. The finding of potentially pathogenic bacteria identified by sequencing but not cultivation, suggests a need for greater understanding of the relationships amongst bacterial species in the bacteriuric neuropathic bladder.