Biofilms, skin disorders and EDTA

November 14, 2018

Biofilms, skin disorders and EDTA

What are biofilms?

Biofilms are diverse communities of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi and yeasts) that embed themselves within a self-produced matrix and in doing so firmly attached themselves to one another and/or to surfaces. These surfaces may be biological (e.g. skin, wounds, teeth, or other body membranes), or not (e.g. implements, medical devices, furniture, or jewellery). The biofilm promotes the growth of the microorganisms, resulting in the thickening of the biofilm. In extreme cases, biofilms may appear as a “slime” to the naked eye.

Why are biofilms important?

Biofilms may harbour disease-causing organisms. According to one estimate, up to 80% of all microbial infections involve biofilm formation (1). If an infection develops a biofilm, it becomes even harder to treat. Biofilms are remarkably difficult to treat with antimicrobials, but the reasons for this are not clear.  Antimicrobials may be inactivated or may fail to penetrate into the biofilm.  In addition, bacteria within biofilms have increased (up to 1000-fold higher) resistance to antimicrobial compounds, and to the body’s defences (1, 2). Due to their embeddedness and resistance, biofilms often prove difficult to remove.

It has been suggested that skin biofilms may explain the chronic nature of many dermatological conditions, including atopic dermatitis, poor wound healing, acne, Candida infections, impetigo and boils (3).

The chelating agent, EDTA

N,N’-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid — or EDTA for short — is an agent that binds up metal ions in solution. Because it holds to metal ions so tightly, it is also able to pull them away from their functions in biological molecules. In biofilms, metal ions are thought to be required for the creation of the microbial matrix and/or the adhesion within it — and so removing them with EDTA destroys the biofilm’s integrity.

In scientific studies, EDTA has been shown to be effective at removing microorganisms from a range of medically-relevant biofilms (4, 5, 6). This action has led to it being used to reduce infection risk in medical applications such as dialysis and device implantation, some wound dressings, and in dentistry (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Skin care products containing EDTA

Available without a prescriptionAsk us about the dermatological preparations in which we have formulated EDTA. These products include lotions, gels, and foaming skin-wash products. These products are typically used twice daily.

Such products may be especially useful when used in conjunction with other skin preparations. For example, they may be applied as a cleanser before topical antibiotics for acne therapy.

An EDTA-containing wash may also boost the action of our Vitamin B3-containing preparations in reducing biofilm-feeding sebum secretions, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing.

References

  1. “Research on microbial biofilms (PA-03-047)”. NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2002-12-20.
  2. Bryers, JD (2008) Medical biofilms. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 100(1): 1-18.
  3. Nusbaum AG, et al. (2012) Biofilms in Dermatology. Skin Therapy Letters, 17(7):1. (http://www.skintherapyletter.com/2012/17.7/1.html)
  4. Raad I, et al. (2003) In Vitro and Ex Vivo Activities of Minocycline and EDTA against Microorganisms Embedded in Biofilm on Catheter Surfaces. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 47(11): 3580–3585.
  5.  Banin E, et al. (2006) Chelator-Induced Dispersal and Killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cells in a Biofilm. Appl Environ Microbiol.72(3): 2064–2069.
  6. Robertson EJ, et al. (2012) EDTA Inhibits Biofilm Formation, Extracellular Vesicular Secretion, and Shedding of the Capsular Polysaccharide Glucuronoxylomannan by Cryptococcus neoformans. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78(22): 7977-7984
  7. Kadry AA, et al. (2009). Impact of slime dispersants and anti-adhesives on in vitro biofilm formation of Staphylococcus epidermidis on intraocular lenses and on antibiotic activities. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 63 (3): 480.
  8. Thomsen TR, et al. (2011) The role of bacterial biofilms in infections of catheters and shunts. In: Bjarnsholt Thomas., editor; , Jensen Peter Østrup., editor; Moser Claus., editor; , Høiby Niels., editor. , eds. Biofilm Infections. New York: Springer. pp 91–109.
  9. Stoodley P, et al. (2012) Biofilms, biomaterials, and device-related infections. In: Ratner BD, editor; , Hoffman AS, editor; , Schoen FJ, editor; , Lemons JE, editor. , eds. Biomaterials Science an Introduction to Materials in Medicine, 3rd ed. Oxford, UK: Elsevier, pp 565–583.
  10. Lambert RJW, et al. (2004) The synergistic effect of EDTA/antimicrobial combinations on Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J. Appl. Microbiol.96:244–253.
  11. Finnegan S and Percival SL (2015) EDTA: An Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Agent for Use in Wound Care. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 4(7): 415–421.



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