World Journal of Urology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 345–350

The development of bacterial biofilms on indwelling urethral catheters


  • N. S. Morris
    • Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • D. J. Stickler
    • Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • R. J. C. McLean
    • Department of Biology, Southwest Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666–4616, USA e-mail:, Tel: +1-512-2453365, Fax: +1-512-2458713

DOI: 10.1007/s003450050159

Cite this article as:
Morris, N., Stickler, D. & McLean, R. World J Urol (1999) 17: 345. doi:10.1007/s003450050159


The biofilm mode of growth has been implicated in the majority of human bacterial infections. In the urinary tract, notable biofilm-associated infections include prostatitis, chronic cystitis, struvite urolithiasis, and catheter-associated infections. Biofilms protect the causative organisms from host defences and antimicrobial therapy. Biofilm formation has traditionally been considered to result from adhesion and capsule formation by adherent microorganisms. Recent work has shown that a large number of genes are activated during this process, some of which have been associated with twitching motility, quorum sensing, and slow growth. In this paper, we review some of the recent work on biofilm biology and highlight its role in urinary tract infections, particularly those associated with urinary catheters.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999