In vitro studies evaluating the effects of biofilms on wound-healing cells: a review

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Chronic wounds are characterized as wounds that have failed to proceed through the well-orchestrated healing process and have remained open for months to years. Open wounds are at risk for colonization by opportunistic pathogens. Bacteria that colonize the open wound bed form surface-attached, multicellular communities called biofilms, and chronic wound biofilms can contain a diverse microbiota. Investigators are just beginning to elucidate the role of biofilms in chronic wound pathogenesis, and have simplified the complex wound environment using in vitro models to obtain a fundamental understanding of the impact of biofilms on wound-healing cell types. The intent of this review is to describe current in vitro methodologies and their results. Investigations started with one host cell-type and single species biofilms and demonstrated that biofilms, or their secretions, had deleterious effects on wound-healing cells. More complex systems involved the use of multiple host cell/tissue types and single species biofilms. Using human skin-equivalent tissues, investigators demonstrated that a number of different species can grow on the tissue and elicit an inflammatory response from the tissue. A full understanding of how biofilms impact wound-healing cells and host tissues will have a profound effect on how chronic wounds are treated.




Kirker KR, James GA, “In vitro studies evaluating the effects of biofilms on wound-healing cells: a review,” APMIS, 2017 April; 125(4):344-352. doi: 10.1111/apm.12678.
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