eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 43 – pages 66-78

Title: Microbiological and ultrastructural evaluation of bacteriophage 191219 against planktonic, intracellular and biofilm infection with Staphylococcus aureus

Authors: GK Mannala, M Rupp, N Walter, M Brunotte, F Alagboso, D Docheva, C Brochhausen, V Alt

Address: Franz-Josef-Strauß-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany

E-mail: volker.alt at

Abstract: Infections of orthopaedic implants, such as fracture fixation devices and total-joint prostheses, are devastating complications. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a predominant pathogen causing orthopaedic-implant biofilm infections that can also internalise and persist in osteoblasts, thus resisting antibiotic therapy. Bacteriophages are a promising alternative treatment approach. However, data on the activity of bacteriophages against S. aureus, especially during intracellular growth, and against in vivo biofilm formation on metals are scarce. Therefore, the present study evaluated the in vitro efficacy of S. aureus bacteriophage 191219, alone as well as in combination with gentamicin and rifampicin, to eradicate S. aureus strains in their planktonic stage, during biofilm formation and after internalisation into osteoblasts. Further, the invertebrate model organism Galleria mellonella was used to assess the activity of the bacteriophage against S. aureus biofilm on metal implants with and without antibiotics. Results demonstrated the in vitro efficacy of bacteriophage 191219 against planktonic S. aureus. The phage was also effective against in vitro S. aureus biofilm formation in a dose-dependent manner and against S. aureus internalised in an osteoblastic cell line. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis showed bacteriophages on S. aureus inside the osteoblasts, with the destruction of the intracellular bacteria and formation of new bacteriophages. For the Galleria mellonella infection model, single administration of phage 191219 failed to show an improvement in survival rate but appeared to show a not statistically significant enhanced effect with gentamicin or rifampicin. In summary, bacteriophages could be a potential adjuvant treatment strategy for patients with implant-associated biofilm infections.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus, bacteriophage, biofilm, implant-associated infection, Galleria mellonella.

Publication date: February 24th 2022

Article download: Pages 66-78 (PDF file)

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