Photodynamic therapy for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in a mouse skin abrasion model

Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Jan;42(1):38-44. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20887.


Background and objective: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infections are now known to be a common and important problem in the Unites States. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of MRSA infection in skin abrasion wounds using a mouse model.

Study design/materials and methods: A mouse model of skin abrasion wound infected with MRSA was developed. Bioluminescent strain of MRSA, a derivative of ATCC 33591, was used to allow the real-time monitoring of the extent of infection in mouse wounds. PDT was performed with the combination of a polyethylenimine (PEI)-ce6 photosensitizer (PS) and non-coherent red light. In vivo fluorescence imaging was carried out to evaluate the effect of photobleaching of PS during PDT.

Results: In vivo fluorescence imaging of conjugate PEI-ce6 applied in mice indicated the photobleaching effect of the PS during PDT. PDT induced on average 2.7 log(10) of inactivation of MRSA as judged by loss of bioluminescence in mouse skin abrasion wounds and accelerated the wound healing on average by 8.6 days in comparison to the untreated infected wounds. Photobleaching of PS in the wound was overcome by adding the PS solution in aliquots.

Conclusion: PDT may represent an alternative approach for the treatment of MRSA skin infections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Chlorophyllides
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Photobleaching
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Polyethyleneimine / administration & dosage
  • Porphyrins / administration & dosage*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / etiology
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / therapy*
  • Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Wound Infection / pathology
  • Wound Infection / therapy*


  • Chlorophyllides
  • Porphyrins
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • phytochlorin
  • Polyethyleneimine