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J Infect Dis. 1994 Sep;170(3):720-3.

Vancomycin penetration into biofilm covering infected prostheses and effect on bacteria.

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Department of Medicine (Infectious Disease Section), VA Medical Center, Houston, TX 77030.


To evaluate the adequacy of penetration of antibiotics into biofilm, a novel in vitro model for prosthesis-related infection was developed. Sterile stainless steel orthopedic nuts were incubated with slime-producing Staphylococcus epidermidis. Biofilm-covered nuts were exposed to varying concentrations of vancomycin; then biofilms were harvested. Vancomycin levels in biofilm, as measured by fluorescent polarization immunoassay, far exceeded the MIC and MBC of vancomycin for the organism. Bacterial growth in biofilm was inversely related to vancomycin concentration in biofilm, but even extremely high drug concentrations did not eradicate bacteria embedded in biofilm. The MICs and MBCs for bacteria recovered from biofilm did not differ from those for incubating organisms. Thus, failure of glycopeptide antibiotics to cure prosthesis-related infection is not due to poor penetration of drugs into biofilm but likely due to diminished antimicrobial effect on bacteria in the biofilm environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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