In silico analysis of antibiotic-induced Clostridium difficile infection: Remediation techniques and biological adaptations

In this paper we study antibiotic-induced C. difficile infection (CDI), caused by the toxin-producing C. difficile (CD), and implement clinically-inspired simulated treatments in a computational framework that synthesizes a generalized Lotka-Volterra (gLV) model with SIR modeling techniques. The gLV model uses parameters derived from an experimental mouse model, in which the mice are administered antibiotics and subsequently dosed with CD. We numerically identify which of the experimentally measured initial conditions are vulnerable to CD colonization, then formalize the notion of CD susceptibility analytically. We simulate fecal transplantation, a clinically successful treatment for CDI, and discover that both the transplant timing and transplant donor are relevant to the the efficacy of the treatment, a result which has clinical implications. We incorporate two nongeneric yet dangerous attributes of CD into the gLV model, sporulation and antibiotic-resistant mutation, and for each identify relevant SIR techniques that describe the desired attribute. Finally, we rely on the results of our framework to analyze an experimental study of fecal transplants in mice, and are able to explain observed experimental results, validate our simulated results, and suggest model-motivated experiments.

Eric W. Jones and Jean M. Carlson
PLOS Computational Biology
Volume: 14
Number: 2
Pages: e1006001
Date: February, 2018
ICB Affiliated Authors: Jean M Carlson