Positively charged biomaterials exert antimicrobial effects of gram-negative bacilli in rats

Bart Gottenbos, Henny C. van der Mei, Flip Klatter, Dirk W. Grijpma, Jan Feijen, Paul Nieuwenhuis, Henk J. Busscher

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Biomaterial-centered infection is a much-dreaded complication associated with the use of biomedical implants. Although positively charged biomaterial surfaces stimulate bacterial adhesion, it has been suggested that surface growth of adhering Gram-negative bacilli is inhibited on positively charged surfaces. In the present paper, we determined the infection rate of differently charged poly(methacrylates) in rats. To this end, 2×106/cm2 Escherichia coli O2K2 or 2×104/cm2 Pseudomonas aeruginosa AK1 were seeded on glass discs coated with three differently charged poly(methacrylates) coatings in a parallel plate flow chamber. Three rats received six subcutaneous discs (two discs of each charge variant) seeded with E. coli, while three other rats received discs seeded with P. aeruginosa. The numbers of viable bacteria on the surfaces were determined 48 h after implantation. On 50% of all positively charged discs viable E. coli were absent, while the negatively charged discs were all colonized by E. coli. P. aeruginosa, however, were isolated from both positively and negatively charged discs. Probably, P. aeruginosa can circumvent the antimicrobial effect of the positive charge through the formation of extracellular polysacharides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2707-2710
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • IR-72432
  • METIS-217160


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