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J Basic Microbiol. 2011 Apr;51(2):191-5. doi: 10.1002/jobm.201000221. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Effect of sub-lethal doses of vancomycin and oxacillin on biofilm formation by vancomycin intermediate resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Karachi, Pakistan.


Biofilms are means of protection to bacteria against antibiotics and antibodies. Catheters and others tube devices used by patients are prone to accumulation of thick layers of biofilms as hiding place for etiologic agents, resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections. Vancomycin remains the only treatment of choice for MRSA infections. In the present study a vancomycin resistant S. aureus (VRSA) (Labeled as CP2) was isolated from the blood of a post-operative cardiac patient. It harbors a plasmid which carry vanA gene and exhibited low-level vancomycin resistance (MIC 16 μg/ml), high level of oxacillin/methicillin resistance (MIC 500 μg/ml) and was sensitive to teicoplanin. CP2 also found to carry icaA gene on its chromosome. This strain exhibited resistance to triton-X100 induced autolysis under sub-inhibitory concentration of vancomycin and produced some extracellular matrix material that surrounding the cells. These characteristic features have warranted us to study the biofilm formation by CP2 on biomedical indwellings in presence of vancomycin and oxacillin. Our findings suggest that sub-lethal dose of vancomycin induced the biofilm formation by CP2 on nylon and silicon indwellings whereas oxacillin facilitated the biofilm formation on glass surfaces exclusively. This implicates that not only the antibiotics but also the indwelling material influences biofilm formation. Therefore, these implants serve as potential surfaces for bacterial adhesion that lead to biofilm formation, thus provide hiding places for pathogens from the actions of antimicrobials.

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