Effective treatment of orthopedic implant-associated infections (IAIs) remains a clinical challenge. The in vitro and in vivo studies presented herein evaluated the antimicrobial effects of applying cathodic voltage-controlled electrical stimulation (CVCES) to titanium implants inoculated with preformed bacterial biofilms of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The in vitro studies showed that combining vancomycin therapy (500 µg/mL) with application of CVCES at −1.75 V (all voltages are with respect to Ag/AgCl unless otherwise stated) for 24 h resulted in 99.98% reduction in the coupon-associated MRSA colony-forming units (CFUs) (3.38 × 103 vs. 2.14 × 107CFU/mL, p < 0.001) and a 99.97% reduction in the planktonic CFU (4.04 × 104 vs. 1.26 × 108CFU/mL, p < 0.001) as compared with the no treatment control samples. The in vivo studies utilized a rodent model of MRSA IAIs and showed a combination of vancomycin therapy (150 mg/kg twice daily) with CVCES of −1.75 V for 24 h had significant reductions in the implant associated CFU (1.42 × 101 vs. 1.2 × 106 CFU/mL, p < 0.003) and bone CFU (5.29 × 101 vs. 4.48 × 106 CFU/mL, p < 0.003) as compared with the untreated control animals. Importantly, the combined 24 h CVCES and antibiotic treatments resulted in no implant-associated MRSA CFU enumerated in 83% of the animals (five out of six animals) and no bone-associated MRSA CFU enumerated in 50% of the animals (three out of six animals). Overall, the outcomes of this study have shown that extended duration CVCES therapy is an effective adjunctive therapy to eradicate IAIs.
- electrical stimulation