Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Original full-length article
01 Jan 2019
Original full-length article |  | 01 Jan 2019

Determination of Tobramycin and Vancomycin Exposure Required to Eradicate Biofilms on Muscle and Bone Tissue In Vitro

Vajra Badha, Rex Moore, John Heffernan, Paulo Castaneda, Alex McLaren, and Derek Overstreet

Keywords: surgical site infection, bone and joint infection, biofilm susceptibility, antimicrobial susceptibility, local antimicrobial delivery, minimum biofilm eradication concentration

Abstract. Background: Bacterial biofilms cause chronic orthopaedic infections. Surgical debridement to remove biofilm can be ineffective without adjuvant local antimicrobials because undetected biofilm fragments may remain in the wound and reestablish the infection if untreated. However, the concentrations and duration of antimicrobial exposure necessary to eradicate bacteria from clinical biofilms remain largely undefined. In this study, we determined the minimum biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) of tobramycin and vancomycin for bacterial biofilms grown on bone and muscle in vitro.

Methods: Biofilms of pathogens found in musculoskeletal infections (S. aureus, S. epidermidis, E. faecalis, P. aeruginosa, and E. coli) were established for 72 hr on rabbit muscle and bone specimens in vitro and characterized by SEM imaging and CFU counts. Biofilm-covered tissue specimens were exposed to serial log2 dilutions (4000-31.25 µg/mL) of tobramycin, vancomycin, or a 1:1 combination of both drugs for 6, 24, or 72 hr. Tissues were subcultured following antimicrobial exposure to determine bacterial survival. The breakpoint concentration with no surviving bacteria was defined as the MBEC for each pathogen-antimicrobial-exposure time combination.

Results: All tested pathogens formed biofilm on tissue. Tobramycin/vancomycin (1:1) was the most effective antimicrobial regimen with MBEC on muscle (10/10 pathogens) or bone (7/10 pathogens) generally in the range of 100-750 µg/mL with 24 or 72 hr exposure. MBEC decreased with exposure time for 53.3% of biofilms between 6 and 24 hr, 53.3% of biofilms between 24 and 72 hr, and for 76.7% of biofilms between 6 and 72 hr. MBECs on bone were significantly higher than corresponding MBECs on muscle tissue (p < 0.05). In most cases, tissue MBECs were lower compared to previously published MBECs for the same pathogens on polystyrene tissue-culture plates.

Conclusions: The majority of MBECs for orthopaedic infections on bone and muscle are on the order of 100-750 µg/mL of vancomycin+tobramycin when sustained for at least 24 hr, which may be clinically achievable using high-dose antimicrobial-loaded bone cement (ALBC).