Mixed-species biofilm compromises wound healing by disrupting epidermal barrier function

J Pathol. 2014 Aug;233(4):331-343. doi: 10.1002/path.4360. Epub 2014 May 27.


In chronic wounds, biofilm infects host tissue for extended periods of time. This work establishes the first chronic preclinical model of wound biofilm infection aimed at addressing the long-term host response. Although biofilm-infected wounds did not show marked differences in wound closure, the repaired skin demonstrated compromised barrier function. This observation is clinically significant, because it leads to the notion that even if a biofilm infected wound is closed, as observed visually, it may be complicated by the presence of failed skin, which is likely to be infected and/or further complicated postclosure. Study of the underlying mechanisms recognized for the first time biofilm-inducible miR-146a and miR-106b in the host skin wound-edge tissue. These miRs silenced ZO-1 and ZO-2 to compromise tight junction function, resulting in leaky skin as measured by transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Intervention strategies aimed at inhibiting biofilm-inducible miRNAs may be productive in restoring the barrier function of host skin.

Keywords: microRNA; mixed-species biofilm; porcine burn wounds; transepidermal water loss (TEWL); wound biofilm.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter baumannii / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biofilms*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology*
  • Debridement
  • Epidermis / physiopathology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Models, Animal
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein / metabolism
  • Zonula Occludens-2 Protein / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Tjp1 protein, mouse
  • Tjp2 protein, mouse
  • Zonula Occludens-1 Protein
  • Zonula Occludens-2 Protein