Haemophilus parainfluenzae strain ATCC 33392 forms biofilms in vitro and during experimental otitis media infections

Academic Article


  • Haemophilus parainfluenzae is a nutritionally fastidious, Gram-negative bacterium with an oropharyngeal/nasopharyngeal carriage niche that is associated with a range of opportunistic infections, including infectious endocarditis and otitis media (OM). These infections are often chronic/recurrent in nature and typically involve bacterial persistence within biofilm communities that are highly resistant to host clearance. This study addresses the primary hypothesis that H. parainfluenzae forms biofilm communities that are important determinants of persistence in vivo. The results from in vitro biofilm studies confirmed that H. parainfluenzae formed biofilm communities within which the polymeric matrix was mainly composed of extracellular DNA and proteins. Using a chinchilla OM infection model, we demonstrated that H. parainfluenzae formed surface-associated biofilm communities containing bacterial and host components that included neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) structures and that the bacteria mainly persisted in these biofilm communities. We also used this model to examine the possible interaction between H. parainfluenzae and its close relative Haemophilus influenzae, which is also commonly carried within the same host environments and can cause OM. The results showed that coinfection with H. influenzae promoted clearance of H. parainfluenzae from biofilm communities during OM infection. The underlying mechanisms for bacterial persistence and biofilm formation by H. parainfluenzae and knowledge about the survival defects of H. parainfluenzae during coinfection with H. influenzae are topics for future work.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pang B; Swords WE
  • Volume

  • 85
  • Issue

  • 9