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Otorinolaringologia 2012 June;62(2):121-30

Copyright © 2012 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of biofilms in otitis media: a review

Coticchia J., Sheyn A., Nation J.

Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA


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There is increasing evidence that nasopharyngeal biofilms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of otitis media. Over 65% of human infections have been linked to the biofilm phenotype. In addition, in addition the biofilm paradigm provides a paradigm for the chronic and recurrent nature of otitis media. Biofilms are a unique life style of microorganisms defined as an assemblage of microbial cells enclosed in an exopolysaccharide (EPS) matrix. Biofilms are also 100-1000 times more resistant to antimicrobial therapy and the identification of biofilms in both the middle ear and nasopharynx of otitis media suggests that these microbial ecosystems may play a dominant role in the pathogenesis of otitis media. There have been a number of important studies over the past 10-15 years on biofilms, from our department and others. We attempted to collect and review these articles in a concise manner to give a clear picture of how this phenotype relates to the pathogenesis of otitis media.

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