Attachment and Biofilm Forming Capabilities of Staphylococcus epidermidis Strains Isolated from Preterm Infants
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Staphylococcus epidermidis, a human commensal, is an important opportunistic, biofilm-forming pathogen and the main cause of late onset sepsis in preterm infants, worldwide. In this study we describe the characteristics of S. epidermidis strains causing late onset (>72 h) bloodstream infection in preterm infants and skin isolates from healthy newborns. Attachment and biofilm formation capability were analyzed in microtiter plates and with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Clonal relationship among strains was studied with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed, as well as the detection of biofilm-associated genes and of the invasiveness marker IS256 with polymerase chain reaction. Blood and skin isolates had similar attachment and biofilm-forming capabilities and biofilm formation was not related to the presence of specific genes. Filament-like membrane structures were seen by TEM early in the attachment close to the device surface, both in blood and skin strains. Nine of the ten blood isolates contained the IS256 and were also resistant to methicillin and gentamicin in contrast to skin strains. S. epidermidis strains causing bloodstream infection in preterm infants exhibit higher antibiotic resistance and are provided with an invasive genetic equipment compared to skin commensal strains. Adhesion capability to a device surface seems to involve bacterial membrane filaments.