The Effect of Vancomycin and Gentamicin Antibiotics on Human Osteoblast Proliferation, Metabolic Function, and Bone Mineralization

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Study Design.

The present study investigates the effect of vancomycin and gentamicin antibiotics on primary human osteoblasts. Osteoblasts were incubated with vancomycin, gentamicin, or with povidone-iodine (PVI), at concentrations advocated for wound irrigation. Osteoblast proliferation, metabolic function, and bone mineralization were measured.


The aim of the study was to model gentamicin and vancomycin wound irrigation in vitro and to examine the effect on osteoblast viability and cellular function in comparison to 0.35% PVI.

Summary of Background Data.

Vancomycin, gentamicin, and dilute PVI are employed as wound irrigants in spinal surgery to reduce infection. We have, however, recently demonstrated that 0.35% PVI has a detrimental effect on osteoblast cellular function and bone mineralization. Studies to determine the effects of antibiotic wound irrigation solutions on osteoblasts and bone mineralization are therefore warranted.


Primary human osteoblasts were exposed for 20 minutes to phosphate buffered saline (PBS) control, vancomycin (35 or 3.5 mmol/L), gentamicin (34 or 3.4 mmol/L), or 0.35% PVI for 3 minutes. Cellular proliferation was measured during 7 days by MTS (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium) assay. Osteoblast metabolic function was determined using a Seahorse XFe24 Bioanalyzer. Mineralized bone nodules were quantified using Alizarin red.


At concentrations advocated for wound irrigation, both gentamicin (3.4 mmol/L) and vancomycin (3.5 mmol/L) induced a transient 15% to 20% reduction in osteoblast proliferation, which returned to control values within 72 hours. This was in marked contrast to the effect of 0.35% PVI, which resulted in a sustained reduction in osteoblast proliferation of between 40% and 50% during 7 days. Neither gentamicin nor vancomycin at concentrations up to 10× clinical dose had any effect on osteoblast oxygen consumption rate, or significantly affected mineralized bone nodule formation.


Vancomycin and gentamicin solutions, at concentrations advocated for intrawound application in spinal surgery, have a small but transient effect on osteoblast proliferation, and no effect on either osteoblast metabolic function or bone nodule mineralization.


Level of Evidence: N/A

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles