Effect of Direct Electrical Current on Bones Infected with Staphylococcus epidermidis

Suzannah M. Schmidt-Malan, Cassandra L. Brinkman, Melissa J. Karau, Robert A. Brown, Brian E. Waletzki, Lawrence J. Berglund, Audrey N. Schuetz, Kerryl E. Greenwood-Quaintance, Jayawant N. Mandrekar, Robin Patel

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1 Scopus citations


We are developing electrical approaches to treat biofilm-associated orthopedic foreign-body infection. Although we have previously shown that such approaches have antibiofilm activity, the effects on bone have not been assessed. Herein, low-amperage 200 μA fixed direct current (DC) was compared with no current, in a rat femoral foreign-body infection model. In the infected group, a platinum implant seeded with S. epidermidis biofilm (105 CFU/cm2), plus 50 μL of a 109 CFU suspension of bacteria, were placed in the femoral medullary cavity of 71 rats. One week later, rats were assigned to one of four groups: infected with no current or DC, or uninfected with no current or DC. After 2 weeks, bones were removed and subjected to histopathology, micro-computed tomography (μCT), and strength testing. Histopathology showed no inflammation or bony changes/remodeling in the uninfected no current group, and some osteoid formation in the DC group; bones from the infected no current group had evidence of inflammation without bony changes/remodeling; along with inflammation, there was moderate osteoid present in the DC group. μCT showed more cortical bone volume and density, trabecular thickness, and cancellous bone volume in the DC group compared with the no current group, for both uninfected and infected bones (p < 0.05). There was no difference in torsional strength or stiffness between the no current versus DC groups, for both infected and uninfected bones (p > 0.05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10119
JournalJBMR Plus
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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