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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 16;8(10):e76968. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076968. eCollection 2013.

207-nm UV light - a promising tool for safe low-cost reduction of surgical site infections. I: in vitro studies.

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  • 1Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

0.5% to 10% of clean surgeries result in surgical-site infections, and attempts to reduce this rate have had limited success. Germicidal UV lamps, with a broad wavelength spectrum from 200 to 400 nm are an effective bactericidal option against drug-resistant and drug-sensitive bacteria, but represent a health hazard to patient and staff. By contrast, because of its limited penetration, ~200 nm far-UVC light is predicted to be effective in killing bacteria, but without the human health hazards to skin and eyes associated with conventional germicidal UV exposure.

AIMS:

The aim of this work was to test the biophysically-based hypothesis that ~200 nm UV light is significantly cytotoxic to bacteria, but minimally cytotoxic or mutagenic to human cells either isolated or within tissues.

METHODS:

A Kr-Br excimer lamp was used, which produces 207-nm UV light, with a filter to remove higher-wavelength components. Comparisons were made with results from a conventional broad spectrum 254-nm UV germicidal lamp. First, cell inactivation vs. UV fluence data were generated for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteria and also for normal human fibroblasts. Second, yields of the main UV-associated pre-mutagenic DNA lesions (cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and 6-4 photoproducts) were measured, for both UV radiations incident on 3-D human skin tissue.

RESULTS:

We found that 207-nm UV light kills MRSA efficiently but, unlike conventional germicidal UV lamps, produces little cell killing in human cells. In a 3-D human skin model, 207-nm UV light produced almost no pre-mutagenic UV-associated DNA lesions, in contrast to significant yields induced by a conventional germicidal UV lamp.

CONCLUSIONS:

As predicted based on biophysical considerations, 207-nm light kills bacteria efficiently but does not appear to be significantly cytotoxic or mutagenic to human cells. Used appropriately, 207-nm light may have the potential for safely and inexpensively reducing surgical-site infection rates, including those of drug-resistant origin.

PMID:
24146947
PMCID:
PMC3797730
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0076968
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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