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Rat indwelling urinary catheter model of Candida albicans biofilm infection

Jeniel E Nett, Erin G Brooks, Jonathan Cabezas-Olcoz, Hiram Sanchez, Robert Zarnowski, Karen Marchillo, David R Andes
Infection and Immunity 2014, 82 (12): 4931-40
Indwelling urinary catheters are commonly used in the management of hospitalized patients. Candida can adhere to the device surface and propagate as a biofilm. These Candida biofilm communities differ from free-floating Candida, exhibiting high tolerance to antifungal therapy. The significance of catheter-associated candiduria is often unclear, and treatment may be problematic considering the biofilm drug-resistant phenotype. Here we describe a rodent model for the study of urinary catheter-associated Candida albicans biofilm infection that mimics this common process in patients. In the setting of a functioning, indwelling urinary catheter in a rat, Candida proliferated as a biofilm on the device surface. Characteristic biofilm architecture was observed, including adherent, filamentous cells embedded in an extracellular matrix. Similar to what occurs in human patients, animals with this infection developed candiduria and pyuria. Infection progressed to cystitis, and a biofilmlike covering was observed over the bladder surface. Furthermore, large numbers of C. albicans cells were dispersed into the urine from either the catheter or bladder wall biofilm over the infection period. We successfully utilized the model to test the efficacy of antifungals, analyze transcriptional patterns, and examine the phenotype of a genetic mutant. The model should be useful for future investigations involving the pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapy, prevention, and drug resistance of Candida biofilms in the urinary tract.


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