Edinburgh Research Explorer

In situ identification of Gram-negative bacteria in human lungs using a topical fluorescent peptide targeting lipid A

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions



  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published here http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/10/464/eaal0033

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.24 MB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number464
Early online date24 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018


Respiratory infections in mechanically ventilated patients caused by Gram-negative bacteria are a major cause of morbidity. Rapid and unequivocal determination of the presence, localization, and abundance of bacteria is critical for positive resolution of the infections and could be used for patient stratification and for monitoring treatment efficacy. Here, we developed an in situ approach to visualize Gram-negative bacterial species and cellular infiltrates in distal human lungs in real time. We used optical endomicroscopy to visualize a water-soluble optical imaging probe based on the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin conjugated to an environmentally sensitive fluorophore. The probe was chemically stable and nontoxic and, after in-human intrapulmonary microdosing, enabled the specific detection of Gram-negative bacteria in distal human airways and alveoli within minutes. The results suggest that pulmonary molecular imaging using a topically administered fluorescent probe targeting bacterial lipid A is safe and practical, enabling rapid in situ identification of Gram-negative bacteria in humans.

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 64565533