European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 266, Issue 10, pp 1533–1538 | Cite as

Morphological evidence of biofilm formation in Greenlanders with chronic suppurative otitis media

  • Preben HomøeEmail author
  • Thomas Bjarnsholt
  • Marcus Wessman
  • Hans Christian Florian Sørensen
  • Helle Krogh Johansen


Biofilm may explain the recurrences and recalcitrant episodes of otorrhea in chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). This study investigates bacterial biofilm in Greenlanders with CSOM and chronic otitis media with effusion (COME). The study is partly blinded, prospective and retrospective. Six children with CSOM, four children with COME and ten adults with CSOM were included in this study. Cultures were obtained and examined by standard methods. Otorrhea or glue was collected from the children and smears were prepared. Middle ear mucosa biopsies were obtained from the adults. Smears and biopsies were analyzed with microscopy and peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA-FISH). Biofilm was confirmed in 83% of CSOM smears but in none of the COME smears. Mucosal biofilm was confirmed in 80% of the biopsies from adults with CSOM. This study provides direct morphological evidence of biofilm in samples from human CSOM. This may help to explain the microbiological mechanisms of the disease and alter the treatment strategy in the future.


Biofilm Biopsy Hybridization (PNA-FISH) Otorrhea Inuit Middle ear infection 



The authors would like to thank AdvanDx Inc., Woburn, MA, USA for supplying the PNA-probes for the FISH experiments and Ulla Rydahl Johansen for technical assistance. No financial support was obtained for this study.

Conflict of interest statement



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Preben Homøe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Bjarnsholt
    • 2
  • Marcus Wessman
    • 1
  • Hans Christian Florian Sørensen
    • 3
  • Helle Krogh Johansen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, F 2071Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical MicrobiologyRigshospitalet, Institute of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Panum Institute, University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Ammassalik Health Care CenterAmmassalikGreenland

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