Data supporting the concept that microbial biofilms are a major cause of non-healing ulcers remain limited. A porcine model was established where delayed healing resulted from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in full-thickness wounds. At the end of one study a wound remaining open was sampled and a MRSA strain was isolated. This pig-passaged strain was used as the inoculating strain in several subsequent studies. The resulting MRSA wound infections exhibited a greater, more stable tissue bioburden than seen in studies using the parent strain. Furthermore, wounds infected with the passaged strain experienced a greater delay in healing. To understand whether these changes corresponded to an increased biofilm character of the wound infection, wound biopsy samples from studies using either the parent or passaged MRSA strains were examined microscopically. Evidence of biofilm was observed for both strains, as most samples at a minimum had multiple isolated, dense microcolonies of bacteria. However, the passaged MRSA resulted in bacterial colonies of greater frequency and size that occurred more often in concatenated fashion to generate extended sections of biofilm. These results provide a model case in which increasing biofilm character of a wound infection corresponded with a greater delay in wound healing.
© 2012 by the Wound Healing Society.