Bacterial Biofilms Make Joint Infections Resistant to Antibiotics Interview with:
Sana Dastgheyb
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MDDepartment of Orthopedic Surgery,
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA and

Dr. Noreen Hickok
Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Response: Physicians have long been resigned to the fact that staphylococcal joint infections are among the most challenging to treat. Our study points towards a definitive mechanism whereby bacteria become insensitive to antibiotics in the human joint environment. We added MRSA to synovial fluid and observed dense, biofilm-like aggregates, as well as a relative insensitivity to antibiotics as compared to ideal medium. Our findings suggest that serum/extracellular matrix proteins within synovial fluid contribute greatly to staphylococcal antibiotic insensitivity in synovial fluid. Furthermore, pre-treatment of synovial fluid with the enzyme plasmin, which degrades extracellular matrix proteins, significantly inhibits aggregate formation, and restores normal antibiotic sensitivity to MRSA.

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