Rifamycin Derivatives Are Effective Against Staphylococcal Biofilms In Vitro and Elutable From PMMA

Carlos J. Sanchez, Stefanie M. Shiels, David J. Tennent, Sharanda K. Hardy, Clinton K. Murray, Joseph C. Wenke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Local antimicrobial delivery through polymethylmethacrylate beads (PMMA), commonly vancomycin, is used for the treatment of contaminated open fractures but has limited activity against Staphylococcus aureus biofilms, which occur commonly in such fractures. Rifamycins have activity against biofilms and are an effective treatment for osteoarticular infections involving staphylococcal biofilms, but there are limited studies evaluating the activity of rifamycin derivatives, other than rifampin, against biofilms of S. aureus and evaluating incorporation of these drugs into PMMA for treatment of contaminated open fractures. Questions/purposes: (1) Are rifamycin derivatives effective against established biofilms of clinical isolates of S. aureus? (2) Can PMMA be used as a carrier for rifamycin derivatives? Methods: Biofilms were developed and evaluated for susceptibility to a panel of antimicrobials in vitro using the minimum biofilm eradication concentration high-throughput model. Susceptibility was assessed by measuring bacterial recovery at 6 and 24 hours after antimicrobial treatment. Activity of rifamycin derivatives against intracellular bacteria was also evaluated using a gentamicin protection assay. Evaluation of PMMA as a carrier for rifampin and rifamycin derivatives was determined by assessing the curing time subsequent to loading of rifamycins and characterizing the release kinetics of rifamycins at daily intervals for 14 days from PMMA by performing bioassays. Results: Rifamycin derivatives between 1 and 8 µg/mL reduced bacteria within biofilms 5- to 9-logs and prevented bacterial recovery up to 24 hours post-treatment, indicating near to complete eradication of biofilms. Rifamycin derivatives at 32 µg/mL had activity against intracellular staphylococci, significantly reducing the number of internalized bacteria with limited effects on osteoblast viability. Rifampin was the only rifamycin observed to have a suitable release profile from PMMA, releasing 49% of the total antibiotic and maintaining a sustained released profile up to 14 days at a mean 28 ± 6 μg/mL. Conclusions: Rifampin can be incorporated into PMMA and eluted at concentrations effective against biofilms and intracellular staphylococci. Clinical Relevance: Our in vitro findings suggest that local delivery of rifampin may be an effective strategy for the prevention and/or treatment of open fractures where S. aureus biofilms might develop. Clinical studies are needed to characterize what role this approach might have in the prevention and treatment of infections involving biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2874-2884
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


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