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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2008 Apr;19(4):1609-15. doi: 10.1007/s10856-008-3394-5. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Incorporation of chitosan in acrylic bone cement: effect on antibiotic release, bacterial biofilm formation and mechanical properties.

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Clinical and Practice Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.


Bacterial infection remains a significant problem following total joint replacement. Efforts to prevent recurrent implant infection, including the use of antibiotic-loaded bone cement for implant fixation at the time of revision surgery, are not always successful. In this in vitro study, we investigated whether the addition of chitosan to gentamicin-loaded Palacos R bone cement increased antibiotic release and prevented bacterial adherence and biofilm formation by Staphylococcus spp. clinical isolates. Furthermore, mechanical tests were performed as a function of time post-polymerisation in pseudo-physiological conditions. The addition of chitosan to gentamicin-loaded Palacos R bone cement significantly decreased gentamicin release and did not increase the efficacy of the bone cement at preventing bacterial colonisation and biofilm formation. Moreover, the mechanical performance of cement containing chitosan was significantly reduced after 28 days of saline degradation with the compressive and bending strengths not in compliance with the minimum requirements as stipulated by the ISO standard for PMMA bone cement. Therefore, incorporating chitosan into gentamicin-loaded Palacos R bone cement for use in revision surgery has no clinical antimicrobial benefit and the detrimental effect on mechanical properties could adversely affect the longevity of the prosthetic joint.

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