Bone and implant-associated infections caused by microorganisms that grow in biofilm are difficult to treat because of persistence and recurrence. Systemic administration of antibiotics is often inefficient because the poor vascularization of the site of infection. This issue has led to the development of biomaterials capable to locally deliver high doses of therapeutic agents to the injured bone with minimal systemic effects. In this context, calcium sulphate/hydroxyapatite (CS/HA) bone graft substitutes are widely used being safe, osteoconductive and resorbable biomaterials that can be easily enriched with consistent amounts of antibiotics. In this in vitro study, the capability of the eluted antibiotics to select the tested bacterial strains for antibiotic resistance was evaluated to confirm the safe use of the product.
S. aureus, S. epidermidis and P. aeruginosa isolated in our Institute from bone and joint infection with different resistance phenotypes were used. 6 × 2.5 mm CS/HA discs were generated by pouring the antibiotic loaded formulations in a mold and were used as a modified disk diffusion test. The resistance selection was evaluated by subculturing cells growing on the edge of the zone of inhibition (ZOI) for seven days. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of gentamicin and vancomycin were determined by broth microdilution method before and after the selection of resistance assay. In addition, MICs were assessed after seven day passage on antibiotic free agar plates to evaluate if eventual decrease of antibiotic susceptibility was stable or only transient.
Commonly, no adaptation in presence of both CS/HA formulations was observed by analysing ZOI on agar medium. The kinetic of decrease of the ZOI was similar between the strains, with the exception of gentamicin resistant staphylococci in presence of gentamicin loaded CS/HA, which was faster with respect to the susceptible strains.
The present study shows that elution of gentamicin and vancomycin from CS/HA bone graft substitutes did not induce a decrease in susceptibility to these antibiotics in an in vitro setting, suggesting the safe use of the product.