“A common cause of impaired elimination of the microorganism is when the microorganisms organize themselves in biofilms. Biofilms are difficult to eliminate due to their intolerance to the immune system and antibiotics,” says Oana Ciofu, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University Of Copenhagen.
Different host factors can predispose biofilm infections.
Foreign materials present in the body are common contributors. Ciofu says, “It has been shown that the risk of biofilm infections increases more than 100,000 times in the presence of foreign material in the body.” Biofilms have been found in all forms of foreign materials in the body including breast implants, heart valves, vascular grafts and stents, pacemakers, artificial joints, pins, screws and plates.
Necrotic tissue, as a result of poor blood supply, develops the organization of biofilm which have been found in chronic wounds, endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart), chronic sinusitis, chronic otitis media, chronic osteomyelitis, chronic lung infection (cystic fibrosis), infectious kidney stone, foreign body associated infections.
An impaired components of the innate defense system is also known to develop biofilms. This is evident in the respiratory tract as well as other defense eliminating systems.
Misdiagnosed or undiagnosed infections can lead to biofilm due to bacteria overgrowth. Insufficient dosages of antibiotics can also lead to biofilm development. In this case an acute infection can lead to a chronic infection months or even years later.
Oana says, “Once established in a biofilm. the bacteria adapt to the host making themselves less invasive and less vigilant and more persistent. They down-regulate many virulance factors such as toxin, type 3 secretion systems, motility, factors that are important for the establishment of the acute infection.”
Cells from the biofilm can relocate within the body, detaching themselves. “The detached plantonic cells can seed an infection in another location and can cause secondary acute or chronic infections,” says Ciofu.
The same microorganism can cause an acute and chronic infection at the same time. Ciofu presented a case study of Staphylococcal aureus which originated from a knee replacement surgery five years prior to infection. She says the staphylococcal infection was in the blood and had an entrance port from an infected diabetic wound. “Staphylococcus grows in biofilms in the chronic wound infection. From the wound the bacteria enters the lympahtic vessels, pass through the local lymph nodes and enter the blood. The virulence factors allow the bacteria to survive and the toxin production leads to inflammatory cytokines and signs of sepsis. Through the blood the bacteria reaches the patient’s knee implant and attaches to the plastic prosthesis. Staphylococcus forms a biofilm, embedded in slime.”
This biofilm has a low metabolic rate. Ciofu says, “The presence of an orthopedic implant also causes a local polymorphonucleic cells defect which decrease the ability to kill phagocytosed bacteria. This is an example of an impaired host factor. This combination of bacterial and host factors leads to impaired elimination of the bacteria and causes a chronic infection.”
She says the presence of bacteria caused the knee implant to loosen. When antibiotics were administered they killed the loose bacteria but not the bacteria contained in the biofilm. The biofilm works as a protective shield around the bacteria. “Chronic infection can be lifelong with minimal or no symptoms due to low inflammatory response.”
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*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.
Professor Oana Ciofu spoke at a seminar through the University Of Copenhagen on June 24, 2015.
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