The consequences of being in an infectious biofilm: Microenvironmental conditions governing antibiotic tolerance
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2017, 18 (12)
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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The main driver behind biofilm research is the desire to understand the mechanisms governing the antibiotic tolerance of biofilm-growing bacteria found in chronic bacterial infections. Rather than genetic traits, several physical and chemical traits of the biofilm have been shown to be attributable to antibiotic tolerance. During infection, bacteria in biofilms exhibit slow growth and a low metabolic state due to O2 limitation imposed by intense O2 consumption of polymorphonuclear leukocytes or metabolically active bacteria in the biofilm periphery. Due to variable O2 availability throughout the infection, pathogen growth can involve aerobic, microaerobic and anaerobic metabolism. This has serious implications for the antibiotic treatment of infections (e.g., in chronic wounds or in the chronic lung infection of cystic fibrosis patients), as antibiotics are usually optimized for aerobic, fast-growing bacteria. This review summarizes knowledge about the links between the microenvironment of biofilms in chronic infections and their tolerance against antibiotics.
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