Colistin dependency among colistin-heteroresistant acinetobacter baumannii isolates

Hadas Kon, Amichay Hameir, Elizabeth Temkin, Alona Keren-Paz, David Schwartz, Vered Schechner, Yehuda Carmeli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colistin dependent (CD) isolates are dependent on colistin for optimal growth. Here we aimed to systematically determine the emergence of CD among colistin-heteroresistant carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) isolates. We also examined the phenotypic characteristics of CD and the evolution of CD strains to overt resistance. Additionally, we examined whether detection of growth in blood cultures was impaired by CD. Heteroresistant isolates, as determined by population analysis profiling, were exposed to colistin; when the colony count with colistin was significantly higher than without, isolates were suspected to be CD. CD was confirmed by Etest and growth curves. CD strains with colistin minimum inhibitory concentrations > 2 mg/L after growth in colistin-free media were considered colistin-resistant. Of the 65 heteroresistant strains tested, eight became CD after colistin exposure. These strains attained higher colony counts and growth rates with colistin vs. without, and grew adjacent to the colistin Etest strip. CD strains exhibited increased susceptibilities to multiple antibiotics compared to their parent heteroresistant strains. All CD strains tested became colistin-resistant following growth without colistin. CD strains were detected in blood culture bottles, but time to detection was significantly prolonged compared with parent strains, suggesting that CD may lead to delay in detection of CRAB bacteremia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Blood culture
  • Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Colistin dependency
  • Colistin heteroresis-tance


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