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Laryngoscope. 2007 Apr;117(4):668-73.

Biofilms in ear, nose, and throat infections: how important are they?

Author information

1
ENT Department, Hippokrateion General Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece. pevlast@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Biofilms present a new challenging concept in sustaining chronic, common antibiotic-resistant ear, nose, and throat (ENT) infections. They are communities of sessile bacteria embedded in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances of their own synthesis that adhere to a foreign body or a mucosal surface with impaired host defense. The aim of this paper is to review the literature on ENT diseases that can be attributed to biofilm formation and to discuss options for future treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Literature review from Medline and database sources. Electronic links and related books were also included.

STUDY SELECTION:

Controlled clinical trials, animal models, ex vivo models, laboratory studies, retrospective studies, and systematic reviews.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Biofilm formation is a dynamic five-step process guided by interbacterial communicating systems. Bacteria in biofilms express different genes and have markedly different phenotypes from their planktonic counterparts. Detachment of cells, production of endotoxin, increased resistance to the host immune system, and provision of a niche for the generation of resistant organisms are biofilm processes that could initiate the infection process. Effective prevention and management strategies include interruption of quorum sensing, inhibition of related genes, disruption of the protective extrapolymer matrix, macrolides (clarithromycin and erythromycin), and mechanical debridement of the biofilm-bearing tissues. With regard to medical indwelling devices, surface treatment of fluoroplastic grommets and redesign of cochlear implants could minimize initial microbial colonization.

CONCLUSION:

As the role of biofilms in human infection becomes better defined, ENT surgeons should be prepared to deal with their unique and tenacious nature.

PMID:
17415138
DOI:
10.1097/MLG.0b013e318030e422
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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