Modeling of Catheter-Associated Infection and Evaluating Antimicrobial Drug Efficacy Using Novel Microfluidic System


How to Evaluate Antimicrobial Compound Efficacy Against Biofilm-Forming Clinical Isolates: Modeling Catheter-Associated Infection Using PDMS Flow Channels in the BioFlux System

One of the most common infections acquired in both acute care hospitals and post-acute care settings are urinary tract infections (UTI), being attributable for around 75% to use of an indwelling urinary catheter (CAUTI). The most frequent infecting bacterial species is Escherichia coli, trailed by Proteus mirabilis, Enterococcus spp, Klebsiella pneumoniae, coagulase negative Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Candida spp. The most important cause of CAUTI is the biofilm formation by these microorganisms along the catheter surfaces, that is often cause of chronic and recurrent UTI, since they can bypass host defense mechanisms and tolerate antibiotic/antifungal therapy. A great effort is being made to develop safe, effective and non-inducing resistance strategies to inhibit biofilm development or disperse pre-formed biofilms on medical devices, such as urinary catheters. In our lab, the BioFlux 200 system has been used to evaluate the efficacy of poloxamers in reducing E. coli adhesion under controllable shear forces by exploiting silicone microfluidic flow channels, thus mimicking the in vivo conditions of urinary catheters in terms of both flow conditions and catheter material. Additionally, this microfluidic apparatus has been also used to determine the poloxamer ability to detach biofilm, alone or in combination with sub-MIC concentrations of antibiotic.

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Dr. Claudia Vuotto, PhD, Team Leader at Microbial Biofilm Laboratory, Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS
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