Interactions between polymorphonuclear leukocytes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms on silicone implants in vivo

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Chronic infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa persist because the bacterium forms biofilms that are tolerant to antibiotic treatment and the host immune response. Scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to visualize biofilm development in vivo following intraperitoneal inoculation of mice with bacteria growing on hollow silicone tubes, as well as to examine the interaction between these bacteria and the host innate immune response. Wild-type P. aeruginosa developed biofilms within 1 day that trapped and caused visible cavities in polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). In contrast, the number of cells of a P. aeruginosa rhlA mutant that cannot produce rhamnolipids was significantly reduced on the implants by day 1, and the bacteria were actively phagocytosed by infiltrating PMNs. In addition, we identified extracellular wire-like structures around the bacteria and PMNs, which we found to consist of DNA and other polymers. Here we present a novel method to study a pathogen-host interaction in detail. The data presented provide the first direct, high-resolution visualization of the failure of PMNs to protect against bacterial biofilms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2601-2607
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

    Research areas

  • Animals, Biofilms, DNA, Bacterial, Female, Genes, Bacterial, Glycolipids, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Microscopy, Confocal, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Mutation, Neutrophils, Phagocytosis, Prosthesis-Related Infections, Pseudomonas Infections, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Silicones

ID: 40216250