An in vitro model of bacterial infections in wounds and other soft tissues

Maria Werthén, Lina Henriksson, Peter Østrup Jensen, Claus Sternberg, Michael Givskov, Thomas Bjarnsholt

103 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing evidence that bacteria play a crucial role in the persistence of chronic wounds. These bacteria are most probably present in polymer-embedded aggregates that represent the biofilm mode of growth. Much work has been carried out to study the development of biofilms in vitro, in particular in attachment to solid surfaces. The observations from the chronic wounds indicate that the bacteria are not attached to a solid surface. Consequently, a new in vitro model is required to investigate biofilms in more wound-like settings. This study describes such a novel in vitro model, with bacteria growing as biofilm aggregates in a collagen gel matrix with serum protein mimicking the wound bed of chronic wounds. The model was verified to comprise important hallmarks of biofilms such as the bacterial embedment in a matrix and increased antibiotic tolerance. Furthermore, we have verified the relevance of the model by comparing the organization of the bacteria in the model with the organization of the bacteria in a real chronic wound. We believe that we have developed an important new model for investigating bacterial biofilms in chronic wounds. This model may be used to study biofilm development in chronic wounds and to develop novel diagnostic tools as well as treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Pathologica Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)156-64
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


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