Effects of loading concentration, blood and synovial fluid on antibiotic release and anti-biofilm activity of bone cement beads

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Antibiotic loaded cement beads are commonly used for the treatment of biofilm related orthopaedic periprosthetic infections; however the effects of antibiotic loading and exposure of beads to body fluids on release kinetics are unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of (i) antibiotic loading density (ii) loading amount (iii) material type and (iv) exposure to body fluids (blood or synovial fluid) on release kinetics and efficacy of antibiotics against planktonic and lawn biofilm bacteria. Short-term release into an agar gel was evaluated using a fluorescent tracer (fluorescein) incorporated in the carrier materials calcium sulfate (CaSO4) and poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA). Different fluorescein concentrations in CaSO4 beads were evaluated. Mechanical properties of fluorescein-incorporated beads were analyzed. Efficacy of the antibiotics vancomycin (VAN) or tobramycin (TOB) alone and in combination was evaluated against lawn biofilms of bioluminescent strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Zones of inhibition of cultures (ZOI) were measured visually and using an in-vivo imaging system (IVIS). The influence of body fluids on release was assessed using CaSO4 beads that contained fluorescein or antibiotics and were pre-coated with human blood or synovial fluid. The spread from the beads followed a square root of time relationship in all cases. The loading concentration had no influence on short-term fluorescein release and pre-coating of beads with body fluids did not affect short-term release or antibacterial activity. Compared to PMMA, CaSO4 had a more rapid short term rate of elution and activity against planktonic and lawn biofilms. This study highlights the importance of considering antibiotic loading and packing density when investigating the clinical application of bone cements for infection management.

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