Although most chronic wounds possess an underlying pathology, infectious agents also contribute. In many instances, pathogens exist as biofilms forming clusters surrounded by a secreted extracellular substance. We hypothesized that compounds secreted by biofilm bacteria may inhibit normal wound healing events including cell proliferation and migration. Conditioned media from two common bacterial species associated with chronic skin wounds and chronic tympanic membrane perforations, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were evaluated for their capacity to affect keratinocyte proliferation and migration. Additionally, proteomic analysis was performed to identify proteins within the biofilm conditioned media that may contribute to these observed effects. Biofilm conditioned media from both species inhibited proliferation in human tympanic membrane derived keratinocytes, whereas only biofilm conditioned media from S. aureus inhibited migration. Human epidermal keratinocytes were found to be more sensitive to the effects of the conditioned media resulting in high levels of cell death. Heat treatment and microfiltration suggested that S. aureus activity was due to a protein, while P. aeruginosa activity was more likely due to a small molecule. Proteomic analysis identified several proteins with putative links to delayed wound healing. These include alpha hemolysin, alcohol dehydrogenase, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase, lactate dehydrogenase and epidermal cell differentiation inhibitor.
Marano, R., Wallace, H., Wijeratne, D., Fear, M., San Wong, H., & O'Handley, R. (2015). Secreted biofilm factors adversely affect cellular wound healing responses in vitro. Scientific Reports, 5, Article number 13296. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep13296