Imaging studies of bacterial biofilms on cochlear implants - Bioactive glass (BAG) inhibits mature biofilm

Kirchhoff, Lisa GND; Arweiler-Harbeck, Diana GND; Arnolds, Judith GND; Hussain, Timon GND; Hansen, Stefan GND; Bertram, Ralph ORCID; Buer, Jan GND; Lang, Stephan GND; Steinmann, Jörg GND; Höing, Benedikt GND

The capability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus to form biofilm on varying CI component materials differs in the presence and absence of bioactive glass (BAG). The application of BAG induces significant changes in biofilm morphology which can be visualized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Bacterial biofilm formation on medical devices, such as cochlear implants (CI), can lead to chronic infections. Interestingly, BAG of type S53P4 seems to be a promising tool for use in the reduction of biofilm development. Primarily, four bacterial species known to cause implant-related infections, P.aeruginosa (ATCC9027), S. aureus (ATCC6538), Staphylococcus epidermidis (ATCC12228) and Streptococcus pyogenes (ATCC19615) were analyzed regarding their capacity to form biofilm on CI components manufactured from three kinds of material: silicone, platinum and titanium. Subsequently, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus biofilms were visualized using scanning electron microscopy, comparing BAG-treated biofilm with non-treated biofilm. The four bacterial species presented biofilm-forming capabilities in a species and surface dependent manner. Metal CI components allowed for the greatest proliferation of biofilm. S. aureus and P. aeruginosa showed the highest rate of biofilm formation on polystyrene surfaces. For both species, SEM revealed altered biofilm morphology after treatment of S53P4 BAG. This study indicates that bacterial biofilm formation and structure on CI components is dependent on the surface composition, altering between metal and silicone surfaces. After application of BAG, changes in biofilm morphology on CI components were observed. These data highlight the impact of BAG on bacterial biofilm morphology.


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Kirchhoff, L., Arweiler-Harbeck, D., Arnolds, J., Hussain, T., Hansen, S., Bertram, R., Buer, J., Lang, S., Steinmann, J., Höing, B., 2020. Imaging studies of bacterial biofilms on cochlear implants - Bioactive glass (BAG) inhibits mature biofilm.
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