Biofilm dispersal of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on orthopedic implant material

J Orthop Res. 2010 Jan;28(1):55-61. doi: 10.1002/jor.20943.


Orthopedic implant-related bacterial infections are associated with high morbidity that may lead to limb amputation and exert significant financial burden on the healthcare system. Staphylococcus aureus is a dominant cause of these infections, and increased incidence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) is being reported. The ability of S. aureus to attach to the foreign body surface and develop a biofilm is an important determinant of resistance to antibiotic prophylaxis. To gain insight on CA-MRSA biofilm properties, USA300 biofilm maturation and dispersal was examined, and these biofilms were found to exhibit pronounced, quorum-sensing mediated dispersal from a glass surface. For comparison of biofilm maturation on different surface chemistries, USA300 biofilm growth was examined on glass, polycarbonate, and titanium, and minimal differences were apparent in thickness, total biomass, and substratum coverage. Importantly, USA300 biofilms grown on titanium possessed a functional dispersal mechanism, and the dispersed cells regained susceptibility to rifampicin and levofloxacin treatment. The titanium biofilms were also sensitive to proteinase K and DNaseI, suggesting the matrix is composed of proteinaceous material and extracellular DNA. These studies provide new insights on the properties of CA-MRSA biofilms on implant materials, and indicate that quorum-sensing dispersion could be an effective therapeutic strategy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement / instrumentation
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators / microbiology*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / prevention & control
  • Quorum Sensing*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Titanium