Specific selection for virulent urinary tract infectious Escherichia coli strains during catheter-associated biofilm formation

Lionel Ferrieres, Viktoria Hancock, Per Klemm

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    Biofilm-associated bacterial infections have a major impact on artificial implants such as urinary catheters, often with devastating consequences. The capacity of a microorganism to form a biofilm on a surface depends on the nature of the surface and its conditioning. When a urinary catheter is exposed to urine, various components adsorb onto the surface and form a conditioning film, which becomes the real interface where microbial interaction takes place. It follows that the material constituting the catheter determines the composition of the conditioning film, which in turn influences which microorganisms can attach. Urinary tract infectious (UTI) Escherichia coli range in pathogenicity and the damage they cause - from benign asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) strains, which inflict no or few problems to the host, to uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strains, which are virulent and often cause severe symptoms and complications. We have found that whereas ABU strains produce better biofilms on polystyrene and glass, UPEC strains have a clear competitive advantage during biofilm growth on catheter surfaces. Our results indicate that some silicone and silicone-latex catheters actually select for and promote biofilm formation of the most virulent group of UTI E. coli strains, hardly a desirable situation for the catheterized patient.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFems Immunology and Medical Microbiology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)212-219
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • uropathic Escherichia coli
    • urinary catheters
    • UPEC
    • urinary tract infection
    • asymptomatic bacteriuria
    • biofilm formation

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