Bacteriophages are synergistic with bacterial interference for the prevention of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation on urinary catheters

J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Dec;113(6):1530-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05432.x. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Aims: We hypothesized that pretreating urinary catheters with benign Escherichia coli HU2117 plus an antipseudomonal bacteriophage (ΦE2005-A) would prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation on catheters--a pivotal event in the pathogenesis of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI).

Methods and results: Silicone catheter segments were exposed to one of four pretreatments (sterile media; E. coli alone; phage alone; E. coli plus phage), inoculated with P. aeruginosa and then incubated up to 72 h in human urine before rinsing and sonicating to recover adherent bacteria. Pseudomonas aeruginosa adherence to catheters was almost 4 log(10) units lower when pretreated with E. coli plus phage compared to no pretreatment (P < 0.001) in 24-h experiments and more than 3 log(10) units lower in 72-h experiments (P < 0.05). Neither E. coli nor phage alone generated significant decreases.

Conclusions: The combination of phages with a pre-established biofilm of E. coli HU2117 was synergistic in preventing catheter colonization by P. aeruginosa.

Significance and impact of the study: We describe a synergistic protection against colonization of urinary catheters by a common uropathogen. Escherichia coli-coated catheters are in clinical trials; adding phage may offer additional benefit.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibiosis*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Biofilms*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Phages / physiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / virology
  • Urinary Catheters / microbiology*