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Efficacy of ultraviolet C light at sublethal dose in combination with antistaphylococcal antibiotics to disinfect catheter biofilms of methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis in vitro

Authors El-Azizi M, Khardori N

Received 27 March 2016

Accepted for publication 3 May 2016

Published 19 August 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 181—189


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Suresh Antony

Mohamed El-Azizi,1 Nancy Khardori2

1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo, New Cairo City, Egypt; 2Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA

Background: Biofilm formation inside inserted medical devices leads to their failure and acts as a source of refractory infections. The ultraviolet C (UVC) light is a potential therapy that can be used against the biofilm of bacterial pathogens.
Objective: We evaluated the efficacy of sublethal dose of UVC light with anti-staphylococcal antibiotics against biofilms made from 30 isolates of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus and S. epidermidis on vascular catheters.
Materials and methods: A novel biofilm device was used to assess the combined approach. The biofilms on the catheters were irradiated with the UVC light at 254 nm and irradiance of 6.4 mW followed by treatment with vancomycin or quinupristin/dalfopristin at twice their minimum bactericidal concentrations or with linezolid at 64 µg/mL for 24 hours. The catheters were cut into segments and sonicated, and the number of the sessile cells was determined ­colorimetrically using XTT viable cells assay. The effect of UVC radiation followed by treatment with an ­antistaphylococcal antibiotic on the viability of the bacteria in the biofilm was visualized using LIVE/DEAD BacLight bacterial viability stain and confocal laser scanning microscopy.
Results: Exposure of the bacterial biofilms to the UVC light or each of the antibiotics alone was ineffective in killing the bacteria. Treatment of the biofilms with the antibiotics following their exposure to UVC light significantly (P<0.001) reduced the number of viable cells within the biofilms but did not completely eradicate them.
Conclusion: To our knowledge, this combinatorial approach has not been investigated before. The combined approach can be used as a therapeutic modality for managing biofilm-associated infections by preventing the establishment of biofilms and/or disrupting the formed biofilms on the inserted medical devices with the goal of increasing their usefulness and preventing infectious complications. Further investigations are needed to assess the effectiveness of the combined approach in the clinical settings.

Keywords: alternative therapy, biofilm-associated infections, MRSA, MSSA, Staphylococcus epidermidis, indwelling medical devices

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