Activity of electrical current in experimental Propionibacterium acnes foreign-body osteomyelitis

Suzannah M. Schmidt-Malan, Cassandra L. Brinkman, Kerryl E. Greenwood-Quaintance, Melissa J. Karau, Jayawant N. Mandrekar, Robin Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Foreign-body-associated infections are often difficult to treat, given that the associated microorganisms are in a biofilm state. Previously, we showed that a low-amperage direct electrical current (DC) reduces Propionibacterium acnes biofilms formed on implant-associated materials in vitro. In this study, low-amperage DC was compared to ceftriaxone treatment or no treatment in a novel rat femur model of foreign-body osteomyelitis. A platinum implant seeded with a P. acnes biofilm (107 CFU/cm2) and 109 CFU of planktonic P. acnes was placed in the femoral medullary cavity. One week later, rats were assigned to one of three treatment groups: no treatment, ceftriaxone treatment, or 200-μA-DC treatment. After 2 weeks of treatment, there were fewer bacteria in the bones of the ceftriaxone group (3.06 log10 CFU/g of bone [P = 0.0209]) and the 200-μA-DC group (0.5 log10 CFU/g [P = 0.0015]) than in those of the control group (6.58 log10 CFU/g). The DC-exposed animals exhibited fewer bacteria than the ceftriaxone-treated animals (P = 0.0330). There were fewer bacteria on the implanted wires in the groups treated with ceftriaxone (0.1 log10 CFU/cm2) or a 200-μA DC (0.1 log10 CFU/cm2) than in the control group (2.53 log10 CFU/cm2 [P, 0.0003 for both comparisons]). Low-amperage DC may be useful for treating, or aiding in the treatment of, foreign-body infections caused by P. acnes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01863
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Direct electrical current
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Propionibacterium acnes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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