Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most common hospital-acquired infections in humans and are caused primarily by uropathogenic Escherichia coli
(UPEC). Indwelling urinary catheters become encrusted with UPEC biofilms that are resistant to common antibiotics, resulting in chronic infections. Therefore, it is important to control UPEC biofilms on catheters to reduce the risk for UTIs. This study investigated the efficacy of selenium for inhibiting and inactivating UPEC biofilms on urinary catheters. Urinary catheters were inoculated with UPEC and treated with 0 and 35 mM selenium at 37 °C for 5 days for the biofilm inhibition assay. In addition, catheters with preformed UPEC biofilms were treated with 0, 45, 60, and 85 mM selenium and incubated at 37 °C. Biofilm-associated UPEC counts on catheters were enumerated on days 0, 1, 3, and 5 of incubation. Additionally, the effect of selenium on exopolysacchride (EPS) production and expression of UPEC biofilm-associated genes was evaluated. Selenium at 35 mM concentration was effective in preventing UPEC biofilm formation on catheters compared to controls (p
< 0.05). Further, this inhibitory effect was associated with a reduction in EPS production and UPEC gene expression. Moreover, at higher concentrations, selenium was effective in inactivating preformed UPEC biofilms on catheters as early as day 3 of incubation. Results suggest that selenium could be potentially used in the control of UPEC biofilms on urinary catheters.
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