chapter  8
16 Pages

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Infections in Cystic Fibrosis

ByAndrea Smiley, Daniel J. Hassett

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common genetic disorder in humans, with patients typically reaching an average life expectancy of ~31-34 years. The most common reason for their demise is, in part, due to airway infection by the opportunistic pathogenic bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This organism has the propensity to form hypoxic or even anaerobic biofilms within the thick mucus layer lining the lung epithelia of CF patients. Although numerous therapeutic, dietary and drug regimens have helped to prolong the lives of these individuals, they can only hope to suppress the infection, admittedly a far cry from the ultimate goal of actually clearing the infection. This mini-review will establish a basic understanding of CF in the context of how P. aeruginosa forms and established biofilms in the thick mucus layer of the airways. We will address the unique characteristics of P. aeruginosa and the type of biofilm infection it causes. Biofilm formation and fundamental bacterial physiological responses will be explored under both aerobic

and anaerobic conditions. The link between CF, P. aeruginosa, and biofilms will be explained, as well as the activation cascade to biofilm formation involving the quorum sensing system. Lastly, current therapies will be discussed and new avenues for novel therapies will be explored.