Safety and bactericidal efficacy of cold atmospheric plasma generated by a flexible surface Dielectric Barrier Discharge device against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vitro and in vivo

Gabrielle S Dijksteel, Magda M W Ulrich, Marcel Vlig, Ana Sobota, Esther Middelkoop, Bouke K H L Boekema

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BACKGROUND: Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), which is ionized gas produced at atmospheric pressure, could be a novel and potent antimicrobial therapy for the treatment of infected wounds. Previously we have shown that CAP generated with a flexible surface Dielectric Barrier Discharge (sDBD) is highly effective against bacteria in vitro and in ex vivo burn wound models. In the current paper, we determined the in vitro and in vivo safety and efficacy of CAP generated by this sDBD device.

METHODS: The effect of CAP on DNA mutations of V79 fibroblasts was measured using a hypoxanthine-guanine-phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) assay. Furthermore, effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis and DNA damage in ex vivo burn wound models (BWMs) were assessed using immunohistochemistry. Next, 105 colony forming units (CFU) P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 were exposed to CAP in a 3D collagen-elastin matrix environment to determine the number of surviving bacteria in vitro. Finally, rat excision wounds were inoculated with 107 CFU PAO1 for 24 h. The wounds received a single CAP treatment, repeated treatments on 4 consecutive days with CAP, 100 µL of 1% (wt/wt) silver sulfadiazine or no treatment. Wound swabs and punch biopsies were taken to determine the number of surviving bacteria.

RESULTS: Exposure of V79 fibroblasts to CAP did not increase the numbers of mutated colonies. Additionally, the number of proliferative, apoptotic and DNA damaged cells in the BWMs was comparable to that of the unexposed control. Exposure of PAO1 to CAP for 2 min resulted in the complete elimination of bacteria in vitro. Contrarily, CAP treatment for 6 min of rat wounds colonized with PAO1 did not effectively reduce the in vivo bacterial count.

CONCLUSIONS: CAP treatment was safe but showed limited efficacy against PAO1 in our rat wound infection model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Pages (from-to)37
JournalAnnals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020

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