Bacterial biofilms have gained increasing visibility in recent years as a ubiquitous form of survival for microorganisms in myriad environments. A number of in vivo models exist for the study of biofilms in the setting of medically relevant implanted foreign bodies. Growing evidence has demonstrated the presence of bacterial biofilms in the setting of a number of chronic wound states including pressure sores, diabetic foot ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers. Here we present a novel murine cutaneous wound system that directly demonstrates delayed reepithelialization caused by the presence of a bacterial biofilm. We established biofilms using either Staphylococcus aureus or Staphylococcus epidermidis in splinted cutaneous punch wounds created on the backs of normal C57Bl6/J mice. Wound reepithelialization was significantly delayed by bacterial biofilms. This effect was specifically dependent on the ability of the bacteria to form biofilms as demonstrated by exogenous administration of biofilm inhibiting peptides and the use of mutant Staphylococcus spp. deficient in biofilm formation. This represents the first direct evidence for the effect of bacterial biofilms on cutaneous wound healing.
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