Biomaterial surfaces may be modified to reduce bacterial adhesion. The susceptibility in mice to Staphylococcus epidermidis infection in tissue surrounding the commonly used catheter materials - silicon elastomer (SE), polyamide (PA), and their surface-modified polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-grafted derivatives, SE-PVP and PA-PVP, respectively - was assessed. Abscesses developed around SE-PVP. Around SE, PA, and PA-PVP catheters, no signs of infection were observed, although mice carrying PA-PVP developed septicemia after 14-21 days. S. epidermidis was cultured from the tissue surrounding PA- PVP segments. Cells around PAPVP segments containing large numbers of bacteria were identified as macrophages by use of immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. This persistence of intracellular bacteria was also observed around SE-PVP, SE, and PA catheters, although to a lesser extent. The cytokine profiles around the 4 materials were different. Implanted biomaterial induces an inflammatory response favorable to the persistence of S. epidermidis. Intracellular persistence of bacteria inside macrophages may be a pivotal process in the pathogenesis of biomaterial-associated infection.,
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Department of Immunology

Boelens, J., Dankert, J., Murk, J., Weening, J., van der Poll, T., Dingemans, K., … Zaat, S. (2000). Biomaterial-associated persistence of Staphylococcus epidermidis in pericatheter macrophages. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 181(4), 1337–1349. doi:10.1086/315369