Prosthetic Joint Infection Diagnosis

Biofilm formation

Bacteria can attach to surfaces, such as those of prosthetic joints, on which they form biofilms, which are communities of bacterial cells embedded in an extracellular polymeric matrix. In biofilms, bacteria are relatively protected from our immune system, as well as from many antibiotics. The immune system, activated by biofilms, may damage surrounding tissues.

The Infectious Diseases Lab at Mayo Clinic is developing a suite of methods to detect bacteria in biofilms and applying them to the diagnosis of prosthetic joint (and other biofilm-mediated) infection. These methods are used to determine whether prosthetic joint infection, sometimes unrecognized by currently used methods, is being missed in clinical practice.

Examples of the molecular approaches under study are organism-specific polymerase chain reaction, panel-based polymerase chain reaction, broad-range bacterial polymerase chain reaction and sequencing, targeted and shotgun metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics.