The electricidal effect is active in an experimental model of Staphylococcus epidermidis chronic foreign body osteomyelitis

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Oct;53(10):4064-8. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00432-09. Epub 2009 Aug 3.


Treatment with low-amperage (200 microA) electrical current was compared to intravenous doxycycline treatment or no treatment in a rabbit model of Staphylococcus epidermidis chronic foreign body osteomyelitis to determine if the electricidal effect is active in vivo. A stainless steel implant and 10(4) CFU of planktonic S. epidermidis were placed into the medullary cavity of the tibia. Four weeks later, rabbits were assigned to one of three groups with treatment administered for 21 days. The groups included those receiving no treatment (n = 10), intravenous doxycycline (n = 14; 8 mg/kg of body weight three times per day), and electrical current (n = 15; 200 microA continuous delivery). Following treatment, rabbits were sacrificed and the tibias quantitatively cultured. Bacterial load was significantly reduced in the doxycycline (median, 2.55 [range, 0.50 to 6.13] log10 CFU/g of bone) and electrical-current (median, 1.09 [range, 0.50 to 2.99] log10 CFU/g of bone) groups, compared to the level for the control group (median, 4.16 [range, 3.70 to 5.66] log10 CFU/g of bone) (P < 0.0001). Moreover, treatment with electrical current was statistically significantly more efficacious (P = 0.035) than doxycycline treatment. The electricidal effect (the bactericidal activity of low-amperage electrical current against bacterial biofilms) is active in vivo in the treatment of experimental S. epidermidis chronic foreign body osteomyelitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Electricity / adverse effects*
  • Foreign Bodies / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology*
  • Osteomyelitis / therapy*
  • Rabbits
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / pathogenicity
  • Tibia / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Doxycycline