JOURNAL ARTICLE

Lavage with allicin in combination with vancomycin inhibits biofilm formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis in a rabbit model of prosthetic joint infection

Haohan Zhai, Jianchao Pan, En Pang, Bo Bai
PloS One 2014, 9 (7): e102760
25025650

BACKGROUND AND AIM: The present anti-infection strategy for prosthetic joint infections (PJI) includes the use of antibiotics and surgical treatments, but the bacterial eradication rates are still low. One of the major challenges is the formation of biofilm causing poor bacterial eradication. Recently it has been reported that allicin (diallyl thiosulphinate), an antibacterial principle of garlic, can inhibit bacteria adherence and prevent biofilm formation in vitro. However, whether allicin could inhibit biofilm formation in vivo is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of allicin on biofilm formation, and whether allicin could potentiate the bactericidal effect of vancomycin in a rabbit PJI model.

METHODS: A sterile stainless-steel screw with a sterile ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene washer was inserted into the lateral femoral condyle of the right hind knee joint of rabbit, and 1 mL inoculum containing 104 colony-forming units of Staphylococcus epidermidis was inoculated into the knee joint (n = 32). Fourteen days later, rabbits randomly received one of the following 4 treatments using continuous lavages: normal saline, vancomycin (20 mcg/mL), allicin (4 mg/L), or allicin (4 mg/L) plus vancomycin (20 mcg/mL). Three days later, the washer surface biofilm formation was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The bacterial counts within the biofilm of implanted screws were determined by bacterial culture.

RESULTS: The lowest number of viable bacterial counts of Staphylococcus epidermidis recovered from the biofilm was in the rabbits treated with allicin plus vancomycin (P<0.01 vs. all other groups). The biofilm formation was significantly reduced or undetectable by SEM in rabbits receiving allicin or allicin plus vancomycin.

CONCLUSION: Intra-articular allicincan inhibit biofilm formation and enhance the bactericidal effect of vancomycin on implant surface in vivo. Allicin in combination with vancomycin may be a useful anti-infection strategy for the treatment of PJI.

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