Send to

Choose Destination
J Med Microbiol. 2007 Nov;56(Pt 11):1549-57.

Species interactions in mixed-community crystalline biofilms on urinary catheters.

Author information

Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


Previous experimental investigations of the crystalline biofilms that colonize and block urinary catheters have focussed on their formation by pure cultures of Proteus mirabilis. In the urine of patients undergoing long-term catheterization, P. mirabilis is commonly found in mixed communities with other urinary tract pathogens. Little is known about the effect that the other species have on the rate at which P. mirabilis encrusts catheters. In the present study, a set of data on the nature of the bacterial communities on 106 catheter biofilms has been analysed and it was found that while species such as Providencia stuartii and Klebsiella pneumoniae were commonly associated with P. mirabilis, when Escherichia coli, Morganella morganii or Enterobacter cloacae were present, P. mirabilis was rarely or never found. The hypothesis that the absence of P. mirabilis from some biofilm communities could be due to its active exclusion by other species has also been examined. Experiments in laboratory models showed that co-infection of P. mirabilis with M. morganii, K. pneumoniae or E. coli had no effect on the ability of P. mirabilis to encrust and block catheters. Co-infection with Ent. cloacae or Pseudomonas aeruginosa, however, significantly increased the time that catheters took to block (P <0.05). The growth of Ent. cloacae, M. morganii, K. pneumoniae or E. coli in the model for 72 h prior to superinfection with P. mirabilis significantly delayed catheter blockage. In the case of Ent. cloacae, for example, the mean time to blockage was extended from 28.7 h to 60.7 h (P < or =0.01). In all cases, however, P. mirabilis was able to generate alkaline urine, colonize the biofilms, induce crystal formation and block the catheters. The results suggest that although there is a degree of antagonism between P. mirabilis and some of the other urinary tract organisms, the effects are temporary and whatever the pre-existing urinary microbiota, infection with P. mirabilis is thus likely to lead to catheter encrustation and blockage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ingenta plc
Loading ...
Support Center