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Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2015 Jul 1;4(7):373-381.

Biofilms and Wounds: An Overview of the Evidence.

Author information

1
Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool , Liverpool, United Kingdom . ; Surface Science Research Centre, University of Liverpool , Liverpool, United Kingdom . ; Scapa Healthcare , Manchester, United Kingdom .
2
Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool , Liverpool, United Kingdom .
3
Division of Medical Sciences, University of Oxford , Oxford, United Kingdom . ; Department of Medicine, University of Geneva , Geneva, Switzerland .

Abstract

Significance: Microorganisms can exist both in the planktonic and biofilm state. Each phenotypic state has a role to play in delaying healing and causing infections of both acute and chronic wounds. However, the virulent biofilm state is the fundamental reason that chronic wounds do not heal in a timely manner. We hypothesize that because microorganisms attach to any surface, biofilms can be found in all chronic wounds. However, it is not the biofilm per se that represents the greatest obstacle to the healing of a chronic wound, but its virulence and pathogenicity. Recent Advances: Numerous studies with animals and humans have identified biofilms in wounds. In particular, these studies have highlighted how biofilms impede host fibroblast development, inflammatory responses, and the efficacy of antimicrobial therapy. Despite this, the role biofilms play in affecting the healing of wounds is still vigorously debated. Critical Issues: Clinicians must understand the role that pathogenic biofilms play in impairing the healing of chronic wounds and in increasing the risk for wound infection, with its potentially catastrophic outcomes. The composition of the biofilm, its physiochemical properties, the climaxed indigenous microbiota and their virulence/pathogenicity, microbial numbers and the host's pathophysiology, and immunological fitness will govern the sustainability of a pathogenic biofilm in a wound and its resistance to interventions. Future Directions: Establishing which specific pathogenic biofilms delay wound healing should help guide better wound care practices.

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