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Infectious Diseases - Otolaryngology - Pathology - Surgery

Effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure on Bacterial Growth on Human Ossicles Explanted from Cholesteatoma Patients
Published: Monday, January 23, 2012
Author: Steffen Dommerich et al.

by Steffen Dommerich, Hagen Frickmann, J├╝rgen Ostwald, Tobias Lindner, Andreas Erich Zautner, Kathleen Arndt, Hans Wilhelm Pau, Andreas Podbielski


High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment can eliminate cholesteatoma cells from explanted human ossicles prior to re-insertion. We analyzed the effects of HHP treatment on the microbial flora on ossicles and on the planktonic and biofilm states of selected isolates.


Twenty-six ossicles were explanted from cholesteatoma patients. Five ossicles were directly analyzed for microbial growth without further treatment. Fifteen ossicles were cut into two pieces. One piece was exposed to HHP of 350 MPa for 10 minutes. Both the treated and untreated (control) pieces were then assessed semi-quantitatively. Three ossicles were cut into two pieces and exposed to identical pressure conditions with or without the addition of one of two different combinations of antibiotics to the medium.Differential effects of 10-minute in vitro exposure of planktonic and biofilm bacteria to pressures of 100 MPa, 250 MPa, 400 MPa and 540 MPa in isotonic and hypotonic media were analyzed using two patient isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis and Neisseria subflava. Bacterial cell inactivation and biofilm destruction were assessed by colony counting and electron microscopy.

Principal Findings

A variety of microorganisms were isolated from the ossicles. Irrespective of the medium, HHP treatment at 350 MPa for 10 minutes led to satisfying but incomplete inactivation especially of Gram-negative bacteria. The addition of antibiotics increased the efficacy of elimination. A comparison of HHP treatment of planktonic and biofilm cells showed that the effects of HPP were reduced by about one decadic logarithmic unit when HPP was applied to biofilms.High hydrostatic pressure conditions that are suitable to inactivate cholesteatoma cells fail to completely sterilize ossicles even if antibiotics are added. As a result of the reduced microbial load and the viability loss of surviving bacteria, however, there is a lower risk of re-infection after re-insertion.