Microbial biofilm growth vs. tissue integration: "the race for the surface" experimentally studied

Guruprakash Subbiahdoss, Roel Kuijer, Dirk W. Grijpma, Henny C. van der Mei, Henk J. Busscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

199 Citations (Scopus)


Biomaterial-associated infections constitute a major clinical problem. Unfortunately, microorganisms are frequently introduced onto an implant surface during surgery and start the race for the surface before tissue integration can occur. So far, no method has been forwarded to study biofilm formation and tissue integration simultaneously. The aim of this study is to describe an in vitro method to investigate this “race for the surface”. First, a suitable growth medium was prepared that allowed both bacterial and tissue growth in a parallel plate flow chamber. Staphylococci were deposited on the glass bottom plate of the flow chamber in different surface densities, after which U2OS osteosarcoma cells were seeded. U2OS cells did not grow in the absence of flow, possibly due to poisoning by bacterial endotoxins, but under flow both staphylococci and U2OS cells grew. The number of adhering cells and area per spread cell were determined after 48 h in relation to the initial number of bacteria present. Both the number and spread area per cell decreased with increasing density of adhering staphylococci. This demonstrates that the outcome of the race for the surface between bacteria and tissue cells is dependent on the number of bacteria present prior to cell seeding.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1399-1404
JournalActa biomaterialia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • METIS-264752
  • IR-76384

Cite this