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Biomaterials. 2003 Aug;24(19):3221-7.

Formation of Propionibacterium acnes biofilms on orthopaedic biomaterials and their susceptibility to antimicrobials.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, School of Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Grosvenor Road, UK.


Failure to treat and eradicate prosthetic hip infection with systemic antibiotic regimens is usually due to the fact that the infection is associated with biofilm formation and that bacterial cells growing within a biofilm exhibit increased resistance to antimicrobial agents. In this in vitro study, we investigated the susceptibility of prosthetic hip Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus spp. isolates growing within biofilms on polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) bone cement to a range of antibiotics. All P. acnes isolates in the biofilm mode of growth demonstrated considerably greater resistance to cefamandole, ciprofloxacin and vancomycin. In contrast, only four of the eight P. acnes isolates demonstrated an increase in resistance to gentamicin. All ten Staphylococcus spp. isolates in the biofilm mode of growth exhibited large increases in resistance to gentamicin and cefamandole with eight of the ten isolates also exhibiting an increase in resistance to vancomycin. However, only three of the ten Staphylococcus spp. isolates exhibited an increase in resistance to ciprofloxacin. Biofilms were also formed on three different titanium alloys and on PMMA bone cement using P. acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus strains to determine if the underlying biomaterial surface had an effect on biofilm formation and the antimicrobial susceptibility of the bacteria growing within biofilms. Although differences in the rate at which the three strains adhered to the different biomaterials were apparent, no differences in biofilm antibiotic resistance between the biomaterials were observed. In the light of these results, it is important that the efficacy of other antibiotics against P. acnes and Staphylococcus spp. prosthetic hip isolates growing within biofilms on orthopaedic biomaterials be determined to ensure optimal treatment of orthopaedic implant infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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