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J Clin Microbiol. 1985 Dec;22(6):996-1006.

Adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to plastic tissue culture plates: a quantitative model for the adherence of staphylococci to medical devices.


The adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to smooth surfaces was assayed by measuring the optical densities of stained bacterial films adherent to the floors of plastic tissue culture plates. The optical densities correlated with the weight of the adherent bacterial film (r = 0.906; P less than 0.01). The measurements also agreed with visual assessments of bacterial adherence to culture tubes, microtiter plates, and tissue culture plates. Selected clinical strains were passed through a mouse model for foreign body infections and a rat model for catheter-induced endocarditis. The adherence measurements of animal passed strains remained the same as those of the laboratory-maintained parent strain. Spectrophotometric classification of coagulase-negative staphylococci into nonadherent and adherent categories according to these measurements had a sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 90.6, 80.8, and 88.4%, respectively. We examined a previously described collection of 127 strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from an outbreak of intravascular catheter-associated sepsis; strains associated with sepsis were more adherent than blood culture contaminants and cutaneous strains (P less than 0.001). We also examined a collection of 84 strains isolated from pediatric patients with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts; once again, pathogenic strains were more adherent than were CSF contaminants (P less than 0.01). Finally, we measured the adherence of seven endocarditis strains. As opposed to strains associated with intravascular catheters and CSF shunts, endocarditis strains were less adherent than were saprophytic strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci. The optical densities of bacterial films adherent to plastic tissue culture plates serve as a quantitative model for the study of the adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to medical devices, a process which may be important in the pathogenesis of foreign body infections.

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