The in vivo biofilm
Reference: Trends in Microbiology (2013) 21: 466-474.
  • In comparisons of in vivo and in vitro biofilms, in vivo biofilms appear smaller.
  • In vivo biofilms do not share the 3D architecture of in vitro biofilms.
  • In vitro models of biofilms are limited for describing infectious biofilms.

Bacteria can grow and proliferate either as single, independent cells or organized in aggregates commonly referred to as biofilms. When bacteria succeed in forming a biofilm within the human host, the infection often becomes very resistant to treatment and can develop into a chronic state. Biofilms have been studied for decades using various in vitro models, but it remains debatable whether such in vitro biofilms actually resemble in vivo biofilms in chronic infections. In vivo biofilms share several structural characteristics that differ from most in vitro biofilms. Additionally, the in vivo experimental time span and presence of host defenses differ from chronic infections and the chemical microenvironment of both in vivo and in vitro biofilms is seldom taken into account. In this review, we discuss why the current in vitro models of biofilms might be limited for describing infectious biofilms, and we suggest new strategies for improving this discrepancy.

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Published By
Bjarnsholt T., Alhede M., Alhede M., Eickhardt-Sørensen S.R., Moser C., Kühl M. , Jensen P.Ø., Høiby N.