Recent data on cardiovascular device-centered infections suggest that some plasma and extracellular matrix proteins contribute to bacterial adhesion and colonization on biomaterials. We previously developed an in vitro assay to study the Staphylococcus aureus adhesion-promoting effect
of surface-adsorbed fibronectin on flat PMMA coverslips coated with a monolayer amount of fibronectin. We screened the potential anti-adhesive properties of a group of substituted dextrans, previously shown to exhibit potent anticoagulant and anticomplementary activities. In comparison to
unsubstituted dextran which showed no significant (<20%) adhesion inhibition at 1 mg/ml, dextrans increasingly substituted with carboxylic and benzylamide groups (CMBD) exhibited increasing anti-adhesive activities. Three CMBD derivatives showing an increasing proportion (5-14%) of benzylamide
groups showed inhibition of bacterial adhesion increasing from 33 to 51% at 1 mg/ml. Another category of substituted dextrans having a variable proportion (2-26%) of sulfonated benzylamide groups (CMBDS) produced active inhibition of S. aureus adhesion. In comparison to these heparin-like
dextran derivatives, native heparin produced inhibition values of S. aureus adhesion which were intermediate between those of CMBD and CMBDS compounds. Furthermore, the anti-adhesive activity was still expressed when substituted dextrans were preincubated with fibronectin-coated PMMA but washed
away at the time when radiolabeled bacteria were added to the adhesion assay. This indicates that the anti-adhesive effects of CMBDS could be exerted at the level of the S. aureus binding site of fibronectin. In conclusion, S. aureus adhesion on fibronectin-coated biomaterials can be efficiently
blocked in vitro by soluble compounds such as dextran derivatives.
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