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Trends Microbiol. 2013 Sep;21(9):466-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

The in vivo biofilm.

Author information

1
Department of International Health, Immunology, and Microbiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; Department of Clinical Microbiology 9301, Juliane Mariesvej 22, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: tbjarnsholt@sund.ku.dk.

Abstract

Bacteria can grow and proliferate either as single, independent cells or organized in aggregates commonly referred to as biofilms. When bacteria succeed in forming a biofilm within the human host, the infection often becomes very resistant to treatment and can develop into a chronic state. Biofilms have been studied for decades using various in vitro models, but it remains debatable whether such in vitro biofilms actually resemble in vivo biofilms in chronic infections. In vivo biofilms share several structural characteristics that differ from most in vitro biofilms. Additionally, the in vivo experimental time span and presence of host defenses differ from chronic infections and the chemical microenvironment of both in vivo and in vitro biofilms is seldom taken into account. In this review, we discuss why the current in vitro models of biofilms might be limited for describing infectious biofilms, and we suggest new strategies for improving this discrepancy.

KEYWORDS:

PMNs; biofilms; chronic infections; host–pathogen interaction; in vitro and in vivo models

PMID:
23827084
DOI:
10.1016/j.tim.2013.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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