Virulence of patient and water isolates of Legionella pneumophila in guinea pigs and mouse L929 cells varies with bacterial genotype.

Canadian journal of microbiology

PubMedID: 8050062

Bezanson G, Fernandez R, Haldane D, Burbridge S, Marrie T. Virulence of patient and water isolates of Legionella pneumophila in guinea pigs and mouse L929 cells varies with bacterial genotype. Can J Microbiol. 1994;40(6):426-31.
Thirteen isolates of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (five from patients, eight from water) were screened for their virulence in guinea pigs after intraperitoneal injection and for their infectivity in L929 mouse cells. Since these isolates included three monoclonal antibody subtypes and four genotypes, the relative influence of these parameters on the pathogenicity of naturally occurring L. pneumophila could be assessed. There was no correlation between infectivity in the L929 assay and virulence for guinea pigs. The source of the isolate, patient or environmental, as well as the isolate's monoclonal antibody subtype did not correlate with virulence. At the p < 0.05 level, isolates with genotype IIb (20-MDa plasmid and EcoRI fragmentation pattern b) were significantly more virulent (mean log LD50 6.84) than genotype VIb (100-MDa plasmid, pattern b), IIId (72- and 96-MDa plasmids, pattern d) or Oc (no detectable plasmid, pattern c) isolates. Genotype IIId isolates were the least virulent (mean log LD50 9.49). Plasmid-containing isolates were more infective than plasmidless ones in L929 cells (p = 0.0001). We conclude that our strain types of L. pneumophila exhibit a gradation in virulence for guinea pigs and that infectivity in L929 cells does not correlate with virulence for guinea pigs.