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Proteolytic enzymes: a new treatment strategy for prosthetic infections?

Selan L, Berlutti F, Passariello C, Comodi-Ballanti MR, Thaller MC.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1993 Dec;37(12):2618-21.

Istituto di Microbiologia, Facolta di Farmacia, Universita La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

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Among the different mechanisms of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents that have been studied, biofilm formation is one of the most widespread. This mechanism is frequently the cause of failure in the treatment of prosthetic device infections, and several attempts have been made to develop molecules and protocols that are able to inhibit biofilm-embedded bacteria. We present data suggesting the possibility that proteolytic enzymes could significantly enhance the activities of antibiotics against biofilms. Antibiotic susceptibility tests on both planktonic and sessile cultures, studies on the dynamics of colonization of 10 biofilm-forming isolates, and then bioluminescence and scanning electron microscopy under seven different experimental conditions showed that serratiopeptidase greatly enhances the activity of ofloxacin on sessile cultures and can inhibit biofilm formation.

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