Comparison of the Effects of Human β-defensin 3, Vancomycin, and Clindamycin on Staphylococcus Aureus Biofilm Formation

Orthopedics. 2012 Jan 16;35(1):e53-60. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20111122-11.


Despite improvements in surgical techniques and implant design in orthopedic surgery, implantation-associated infections are still a challenging problem for surgeons. In 2006, trace quantities of human β-defensin 3 (hBD-3) were found in human bone tissue and bone cells. Human β-defensin 3 is a 45-amino-acid peptide that is considered the most promising class of defensin antimicrobial peptides and may help in the prevention and treatment of implantation-associated infections. Studies of the effectiveness of hBD-3 against Staphylococcus aureus showed that hBD-3 was more potent at low concentrations than other antibiotics. The effect of hBD-3 on S aureus biofilms has not been reported. We studied the effect of hBD-3, vancomycin, and clindamycin on S aureus biofilms and on the survival of the bacteria in the biofilms.Staphylococcus aureus biofilms were examined with confocal scanning laser microscopy. Staining with LIVE/DEAD BacLight viability stain (Molecular Probes Europe BV, Leiden, The Netherlands) differentiated between live and dead bacteria within the biofilms, and extracellular polymeric substances (slime) from the biofilms was evaluated after staining with calcofluor white (Sigma Chemical Company, Rocky Hill, New Jersey). Human β-defensin 3 and clindamycin reduced the S aureus biofilm area. Human β-defensin 3 was significantly more effective against bacteria from the S aureus biofilms than was clindamycin. Vancomycin did not reduce the S aureus biofilm area.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Clindamycin / administration & dosage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development*
  • Vancomycin / administration & dosage*
  • beta-Defensins / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DEFB103A protein, human
  • beta-Defensins
  • Clindamycin
  • Vancomycin