Chitosan acetate bandage as a topical antimicrobial dressing for infected burns

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Feb;53(2):393-400. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00760-08. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


An engineered chitosan acetate bandage preparation (HemCon) is used as a hemostatic dressing, and its chemical structure suggests that it should also be antimicrobial. We previously showed that when a chitosan acetate bandage was applied to full-thickness excisional wounds in mice that had been infected with pathogenic bioluminescent bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis, and Staphylococcus aureus), it was able to rapidly kill the bacteria and save the mice from developing fatal infections. Wound healing was also stimulated. In the present study, we asked whether a chitosan acetate bandage could act as a topical antimicrobial dressing when it was applied to third-degree burns in mice contaminated with two of these bacterial species (P. aeruginosa and P. mirabilis). Preliminary experiments established the length of burn time and the number of bacteria needed to produce fatal infections in untreated mice and established that the chitosan acetate bandage could adhere to the infected burn for up to 21 days. In the case of P. aeruginosa infections, the survival rate of mice treated with the chitosan acetate bandage was 73.3% (whereas the survival rate of mice treated with a nanocrystalline silver dressing was 27.3% [P = 0.0055] and that of untreated mice was 13.3% [P < 0.0002]). For P. mirabilis infections, the comparable survival rates were 66.7%, 62.5%, and 23.1% respectively. Quantitative bioluminescent signals showed that the chitosan acetate bandage effectively controlled the growth of bacteria in the burn and prevented the development of systemic sepsis, as shown by blood culture. These data suggest that chitosan acetate bandage is efficacious in preventing fatal burn infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Bandages*
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / microbiology
  • Chitosan*
  • Female
  • Luminescence
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nanoparticles
  • Proteus Infections / microbiology
  • Proteus Infections / prevention & control
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Silver / administration & dosage
  • Silver / therapeutic use
  • Survival Analysis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Silver
  • Chitosan