To study biofilm production and to detect icaAD, atlE and aap genes in 137 isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) obtained from healthy individuals from the community (35 isolates), from hospitalized patients at the Antônio Pedro University Hospital (25 isolates) and from individuals from a home-care system (HCS; 77 isolates).Methods
Biofilm production was determined in vitro using polystyrene inert surfaces. icaAD, atlE and aap genes were detected using PCR. Hybridization experiments were also carried out to confirm some PCR results. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was carried out using the NCCLS methods.Results
Although many of the commensal MRSE isolates produced biofilms, the percentage of biofilm producers was significantly higher (P=0.0107) among hospital isolates (76%) than among isolates from the community (60%) and from the HCS (57%). An association was observed between multiresistance and biofilm production for isolates obtained from healthy individuals from the community and from household contacts from the HCS (P < 0.0001). The concomitant presence of the ica operon and atlE and aap genes was associated with the strong biofilm-producer phenotype (P < 0.0001).Conclusion
Because many of the commensal MRSE isolates obtained from nares produced biofilms and carried icaAD, aap and atlE genes, biofilms or such genetic elements should not be used as markers for clinical significance. The biofilm environment seems to increase genetic exchanges and hence may contribute to multiresistance phenotypes.