1887

Abstract

Device-associated microbial growth, including biofilms, represents more than half of all human microbial infections and, despite a relatively small risk of implant-associated diseases, this type of infection usually leads to high morbidity, increased health-care costs and prolonged antimicrobial therapy. Animal models are needed to elucidate the complex host–pathogen interactions that occur during the development of attached and structured biofilm populations. We describe here a new model to study biofilm, based on the avascular implantation of small catheters in rats. Polyurethane biomaterials challenged with cells were placed underneath the skin of immunosuppressed animals following only minor surgery. The model allowed the study of up to ten biofilms at once, and the recovery of mature biofilms from 2 days after implantation. The adhering inoculum was adjusted to the standard threshold of positive diagnosis of fungal infection in materials recovered from patients. Wild-type biofilms were mainly formed of hyphal cells, and they were unevenly distributed across the catheter length as observed in infected materials in clinical cases. The hyphal multilayered structure of the biofilms of wild-type strains was observed by confocal microscopy and compared to the monolayer of yeast or hyphal cells of two well-known biofilm-deficient strains, ΔΔ ΔΔ and ΔΔ, respectively. The subcutaneous biofilm model relies on the use of implanted catheters with accessible, fast and minor surgery to the animals. This model can be used to characterize the ability of antimicrobial agents to eliminate biofilms, and to evaluate the prophylactic effect of antifungal drugs and biomaterial coatings.

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2010-03-01
2020-08-08
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