Clostridium difficile the hospital plague
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has become one of the major public health threats in the last two decades. An increase has been observed not only in the rate of CDI, but also in its severity and mortality. Symptoms caused by this pathogen are accompanied by intense local and systemic inflammation. We confirmed that Raman microspectroscopy can help us in understanding CDI pathogenesis. A single erythrocyte of patients with CDI shows a difference, approximately 10 times, in the intensity of the Raman spectra at the beginning of hospitalization and after one week of treatment. The intensity level is an indicator of the spread of the inflammation within the cell, confirmed by standard laboratory tests. Many of the observed bands with enormously enhanced intensity, e.g. 1587, 1344, 1253, 1118 and 664 cm−1, come from the symmetric vibration of the pyrrole ring. Heme variation of recovered cells in the acute CDI state between the first and the seventh day of treatment seems to show increased levels of oxygenated hemoglobin. Intense inflammation alters the conformation of the protein which is reflected in the significant changes in the amide I, II and III bands. There is an observed shift and a significant intensity increase of 1253 and 970 cm−1 amide III and skeletal protein backbone CC stretching vibration bands, respectively. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to find the variance in the data collected on the first and seventh day. PC2 loading in the 1645–1500 cm−1 range shows an increase of heme, Tyr, Trp, or Phe vibrations because of changes in the protein microenvironment due to their exposure. Positive maxima at 1621, 1563 and 1550 in the PC2 loading originated from the ring vibrations. These observations indicate that Clostridium difficile toxins induce cytopathogenicity by altering cellular proteins.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Optical Diagnosis (2014)