Bacterial biofilms in the upper airway - evidence for role in pathology and implications for treatment of otitis media

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2012 Sep;13(3):154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 May 27.


Understanding the nature of the biofilm component in the pathogenesis of otitis media [OM] will likely have a meaningful influence on the development of novel strategies to prevent and/or treat this highly prevalent pediatric disease. The design of vaccine candidates for OM that currently focus on preventing colonization are predicated on the assumption that by reducing the burden of bacteria present in the pediatric nasopharynx, one could reduce or eliminate the likelihood of retrograde ascension of the Eustachian tube by bacteria from the nasopharynx to the middle ear. If effective, this strategy could prevent biofilms from ever forming in the middle ear. Additionally, gaining an improved understanding of the unique properties of bacteria resident within a biofilm and the proteins they express while growing as part of this organized community has the potential to identify novel and perhaps biofilm-specific molecular targets for the design of either therapeutic agents or vaccine candidates for the resolution of existing OM.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Haemophilus influenzae / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / growth & development
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Otitis Media / microbiology*
  • Otitis Media / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory System / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / growth & development


  • Bacterial Vaccines