Indocyanine Green-Mediated Photodynamic Therapy Reduces Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Drug Resistance

J Clin Med. 2019 Mar 25;8(3):411. doi: 10.3390/jcm8030411.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin-wound infections are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Indocyanine green (ICG), a safe and inexpensive dye used in clinical imaging, can be activated by near-infrared in photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) to effectively kill MRSA. However, how this treatment affects MRSA drug sensitivity remains unknown. The drug-sensitivity phenotypes, bacterial growth rate, and cell-wall thickness of three MRSA strains were analyzed after ICG-PDT. Drug-resistant gene expressions were determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR. Related protein expressions were examined with immunoblotting. Drug sensitivity was further evaluated in animal models. MRSA that survived the treatment grew faster, and the cell wall became thinner compared to parental cells. These cells became more sensitive to oxacillin, which was partly related to mecA complex gene deletion. Skin necrosis caused by ICG-PDT-treated MRSA infection was smaller and healed faster than that infected with parental cells. With oxacillin therapy, no bacteria could be isolated from mouse lung tissue infected with ICG-PDT-treated MRSA. ICG-PDT drives MRSA toward an oxacillin-sensitive phenotype. It has the potential to develop into an alternative or adjuvant clinical treatment against MRSA wound infections.

Keywords: MRSA; drug resistance; indocyanine green; photodynamic; photothermal; wound infection.