INTRODUCTION: Chronic wounds have a compromised microcirculation which leads to restricted gas exchange. The majority of these hypoxic wounds is infested with microorganisms congregating in biofilms which further hinders the antibiotic function. We speculate whether this process can be counteracted by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
METHODOLOGY: Twenty-eight BALB/c mice with third-degree burns were included in the analyses. Pseudomonas aeruginosa embedded in seaweed alginate beads was injected under the eschar to mimic a biofilm infected wound. Challenged mice were randomized to receive either 4 days with 1 x ciprofloxacin combined with 2 × 90 min HBOT at 2.8 standard atmosphere daily, 1 x ciprofloxacin as monotherapy or saline as placebo. The mice were clinically scored, and wound sizes were estimated by planimetry daily. Euthanasia was performed on day 8. Wounds were surgically removed in toto, homogenized and plated for quantitative bacteriology. Homogenate supernatants were used for cytokine analysis.
RESULTS: P. aeruginosa was present in all wounds at euthanasia. A significant lower bacterial load was seen in the HBOT group compared to either the monotherapy ciprofloxacin group (p = 0.0008), or the placebo group (p < 0.0001). IL-1β level was significantly lower in the HBOT group compared to the placebo group (p = 0.0007). Both treatment groups had higher osteopontin levels than the placebo group (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004). The same pattern was seen in the S100A9 analysis (p = 0.01 and p = 0.008), whereas no differences were detected between the S100A8, the VEGF or the MMP8 levels in the three groups.
CONCLUSION: These findings show that HBOT improves the bactericidal activity of ciprofloxacin against P. aeruginosa wound biofilm in vivo. HBOT in addition to ciprofloxacin also modulates the host response to a less inflammatory phenotype.