Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of antibioticassociated diarrhea and has gained worldwide notoriety due to emerging hypervirulent strains and the high incidence of recurrence. We previously reported protection of mice from CDI using the antigerminant bile salt analog CamSA. Here we describe the effects of CamSA in the hamster model of CDI. CamSA treatment of hamsters showed no toxicity and did not affect the richness or diversity of gut microbiota; however, minor changes in community composition were observed. Treatment of C. difficile-challenged hamsters with CamSA doubled the mean time to death, compared to control hamsters. However, CamSA alone was insufficient to prevent CDI in hamsters. CamSA in conjunction with suboptimal concentrations of vancomycin led to complete protection from CDI in 70% of animals. Protected animals remained disease-free at least 30 days postchallenge and showed no signs of colonic tissue damage. In a delayed-treatment model of hamster CDI, CamSA was unable to prevent infection signs and death. These data support a putative model in which CamSA reduces the number of germinating C. difficile spores but does not keep all of the spores from germinating. Vancomycin halts division of any vegetative cells that are able to grow from spores that escape CamSA.
- C. difficile