Galleria mellonella as an alternative in vivo model to study bacterial biofilms on stainless steel and titanium implants

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Gopala K. Mannala
Markus Rupp
Francisca Alagboso
Maximilian Kerschbaum
Christian Pfeifer
Ursula Sommer
Marian Kampschulte
Eugen Domann
Volker Alt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to establish an infection model of Galleria mellonella larvae as an alternative in vivo model for biofilm-associated infections on stainless steel and titanium implants. First, the model was established with bacteria-free implants to evaluate the biocompatibility of implants in the larvae. Titanium or stainless steel implants were implanted without any adverse effects over the entire observation period of 5 days compared to controls. Then, stainless steel and titanium implants pre-incubated with Staphylococcus aureus were implanted into the larvae to mimic biofilm-associated infection. For both materials, pre-incubation of the implant with S. aureus led to significantly reduced survival of the larvae compared to bacteria-free implants. Survival rates of the larvae could not be improved in this biofilm infection situation by the addition of gentamicin, whereas gentamicin could significantly improve the survival of the larvae in case of planktonic infection of the larvae with S. aureus without an implant, confirming the typical characteristics of reduced antibiotic susceptibility of biofilm infections. Additionally, biofilm formation and various stages of biofilm maturation were confirmed by surface electron microscopy and by measuring gene expression of biofilm-related genes with the pre-incubated implant, which showed strong biofilm formation and upregulation of autolysin (atl) and sarA genes. In conclusion, G. mellonella can be used as an alternative in vivo model to study biofilm-associated infections on stainless steel and titanium implants, which may help to reduce animal infection experiments with vertebrates in the future.  

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How to Cite
Mannala, G. K., Rupp, M., Alagboso, F., Kerschbaum, M., Pfeifer, C., Sommer, U., Kampschulte, M., Domann, E. and Alt, V. (2020) “Galleria mellonella as an alternative in vivo model to study bacterial biofilms on stainless steel and titanium implants”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 00. doi: 10.14573/altex.2003211.
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