Here, we are aimed to evaluate bacteriophage (191219) to treat S. aureus implant-associated bone infections by means of testing against S. aureus during its planktonic, biofilm and intracellular growth phases and finally assessing antimicrobial effect on in vivo biofilm formed on metal K-wire in an alternative insect model Galleria mellonella.
The bacteriophages (191219) were provided from D&D Pharma GmbH. These bacteriophages were tested against S. aureus EDCC 5055 (MSSA) and S. aureus DSM 21979 (MRSA) strains. To assess the activity of bacteriophages against planktonic growth phase, bacteriophages, and S. aureus EDCC 5055(1×107 CFU/ml) were co-cultured in LB media as multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10, 1, 0.1, and 0.01 for 24 hours at 37oC and finally plated out on the LB agar plates to estimate the bacterial growth. The antimicrobial activity of bacteriophages on biofilms in vitro was measured by analysing the incubating the several fold dilutions of bacteriophages in LB media with biofilms formed on 96-well plate. The eradication of biofilm was analysed with crystal violet as well as CFU analysis methods. Later, the effect of bacteriophages on intracellular growth of S. aureus in side osteoblast was tested by treating the S. aureus infected osteoblasts at 2h, 4h and 24h time points of post treatment. In addition, we have analysed synergistic effect with gentamicin and rifampicin antibiotics to clear intracellular S. aureus. Finally, experiments are performed to prove the effect of bacteriophages to clear in vivo biofilm using alternative insect model G. mellonella as well as to detect the presence of bacteriophages inside the osteoblasts through transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis.
Our results demonstrate the in vitro efficacy of bacteriophages against planktonic S. aureus. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) experiments revealed severe infection of bacteria by bacteriophages. Bacteriophages also eradicated in a dose-dependent manner in vitro S. aureus biofilm formation and were active against intracellular S. aureus in an osteoblastic cell line. TEM analysis visualized the effect of the bacteriophages on S. aureus inside the osteoblasts with the destruction of the intracellular bacteria and formation of new bacteriophages. For the Galleria infection model, single administration of phages failed to show improvement in survival rates, but exhibited some synergistic effects with gentamicin or rifampicin, which was not statistically significant.
In summary, bacteriophages could be a potential adjuvant treatment strategy for patients with implant-associated biofilm infections. Further preclinical and clinical trials are required to establish adequate treatment protocols.