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J Surg Res. 1996 Apr;62(1):69-73.

Protein adsorption and bacterial adhesion to biliary stent materials.

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Department of Surgery, Lund University, Sweden.


Four biliary stents inserted for relief of jaundice in patients with biliary obstruction due to carcinoma of pancreatic head were examined for the adsorption of biliary proteins and bacterial colonization. Fibronectin and vitronectin (S-protein) were found to be the two main proteins adsorbed on the inner surface of the stents. Biliary isolates included Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Candida albicans. In vitro studies were performed to clarify the kinetics of biliary protein and bacterial adhesion. Biliary drains of polytetrafluorethylene, polyethylene, polyurethane, and rubber were placed in a flow cell and perfused with human bile at 37% C for 24 hr. The materials were subjected to either detection of adsorbed biliary proteins or perfusion with 3 H-labeled E. coli cells (1 X 10 6 cfu/ml). The results show that the adsorbed biliary proteins were detectable on the surface of biliary stents and able to enhance bacterial adhesion to the surface in the first 24 hrs after the exposure of stent materials to bile, and that both the adsorption of biliary proteins and the adhesion of bacterial cells were material- and strain-dependent. Furthermore, there was a clear correlation between the amount of adsorbed fibronectin and the number of adherent bacteria. The results indicate that, in the clinical situation, biliary proteins may be adsorbed on the surface of inserted stents within a short time after insertion, and some of them may be used by bacterial cells as receptors for adhesion to the surface, and thus involved in the process of bacterial adhesion.

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