Increased drug resistance of meticillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureusbiofilms formed on a mouse dermal chip model

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Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) biofilm formation in humans is of serious clinical concern. Previous in vitro studies have been performed with biofilms grown only on inorganic substrates; therefore, we investigated the vancomycin (VCM) resistance of MRSA biofilms grown on skin tissue.


We established a novel tissue substrate model, namely MRSA grown on segments of mouse skin tissue (dermal chips, DCs), and compared its resistance capacity against VCM with that of MRSA biofilms grown on plastic chips (PCs).

Results/Key findings.

For one MRSA isolate, we found that the VCM MIC was identical (1.56 μg ml−1) for planktonic cultures and for biofilms-formed on PCs (PC-BF), although the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) increased to 6.25 μg ml−1 in PC-BF. On the contrary, the MIC and MBC for biofilms formed on DCs (DC-BF) significantly increased (25 and 50 μg ml−1, respectively). Furthermore, the minimum biofilm-eradicating concentration was higher for DC-BF (100 μg ml−1) than for PC-BF (25 μg ml−1). Using six MRSA strains, we found that in PC-BF, the c.f.u. number decreased with increasing VCM concentration, whereas in DC-BF, it greatly increased until the MIC was reached, accompanied by the formation of large colonies, thicker bacterial walls and the presence of many mitotic cells.


Our results indicate that the VCM resistance of MRSA was greater in DC-BF. We conclude that DCs may provide a specific environment for MRSA that enhances bacterial growth under cytotoxic VCM concentrations, and might be useful for the study of skin wound infections and the effects of antimicrobial drugs.

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