Bacteriotherapy with Lactobacillus plantarum in burns

Int Wound J. 2009 Feb;6(1):73-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-481X.2008.00577.x.


Bacterial colonisation and infection remain the major causes of delayed healing and graft rejection following burns. Topical treatment is necessary to reduce the incidence of burn wound infection. Silver sulphadiazine (SD-Ag) is an often used microbicidal agent. However, this treatment produces adverse reactions and side-effects. On the basis of experimental data and clinical application of lactobacilli as probiotics, we performed this exploratory study to establish the effectiveness of bacteriotherapy with topical application of the innocuous bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum cultured in De Man, Rogosa and Sharpe medium to provide an alternative method for burn treatment using SD-Ag as a reference. These innocuous bacteria would compete with other bacteria that are wound pathogens and would modify the wound environment and promote tissue repair. Eighty burned patients from the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit were grouped into infected (delayed) second- and third-degree and non infected (early) third-degree burns and treated with L. plantarum or SD-Ag. The proportion of patients with delayed second-degree burns was 0.71 for L. plantarum and 0.73 for SD-Ag (relative rate: -2.72%) with respect to the decrease in bacterial load (<10(5) bacteria/g of tissue), promotion of granulating tissue wound bed and healing. In early third-degree burns, the values were 0.75 for L. plantarum and 0.84 for SD-Ag (relative rate: -1.07%) in preventing wound infection and promotion of granulation tissue, 0.90 in graft taking for both treatments (relative rate: 0%) and 0.75 for L. plantarum and 0.77 for SD-Ag (relative rate: -2.60%) in healing. In delayed third-degree burns, values were 0.83 for L. plantarum and 0.71 for SD-Ag (relative rate: +16.90%) with respect to the decrease in the bacterial load (<10(5) bacteria/g of tissue) and providing a granulating tissue wound bed, 0.90 in graft taking for both treatments (relative rate: 0%) and 0.75 for L. plantarum and 0.64 for SD-Ag (relative rate: + 17.19%) in healing. Although the number of patients (between 12 and 15 per group) did not enable the application of a power statistical test, these results suggest that the L. plantarum treatment should be studied in greater depth and could be used as a valid alternative for the topical treatment of burns.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibiosis
  • Burns / microbiology
  • Burns / pathology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus plantarum*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Transplantation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing
  • Wound Infection / pathology
  • Wound Infection / therapy*
  • Young Adult