Antibacterial activity of low amperage and low voltage electric current (DC)


Infection is a major clinical problem associated with the use of intravenous catheters.The efficacy of a direct electric current (10µA, 9V) via electrode-conducting carbon impregnated catheters to prevent colonisation of catheters by micro-organisms was investigated. The range of organisms susceptible to 10µA was determined by a zone of inhibition test. The catheters acting as the anode and the cathode were inserted into a nutrient agar plate inoculated with a lawn of bacteria. There was no zone of inhibition observed around the anode. Organisms susceptible to 10µA at the cathode were Staphylococcus aureus (2 strains), Staphylococcus epidermidis (5 strains), Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae (2 strains each), and one strain of the following micro-organisms: Staphylococcus hominis, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. The zones ranged from 6 to 16 mm in diameter according to the organisms under test. The zone size was proportional to the amperage (10 - 100 µA) and the number of organisms on the plate. Ten µA did not prevent adhesion of staphylococci to the cathode nor did it affect their growth in nutrient broth. However, it was bactericidal to adherent bacteria on the cathodal catheter and significantly reduced the number of bacteria on the catheter after 4 to 24 h application of electricity. The antimicrobial activity of low amperage electric current under anaerobic conditions and in the absence of chloride ions against bacteria attached to the surface of a current carrying electrode was also investigated.The mechanisms of the bactericidal activity associated with the cathode were investigated with S. epidermidis and S. aureus. The inhibition zone was greatly reduced in the presence of catalase. There was no zone around the cathode when the test was carried out under anaerobic conditions. Hydrogen peroxide was produced at the cathode surface under aerobic conditions, but not in the absence of oxygen. A salt-bridge apparatus was used to demonstrate further that hydrogen peroxide was produced at the cathode, and chlorine at the anode. The antimicrobial activity of low amperage electric current under anaerobic conditions and in the absence of chloride ions against bacteria attached to the surface of a current carrying electrode was also investigated. Antibacterial activity was reduced under anaerobic conditions, which is compatible with the role of hydrogen peroxide as a primary bactericidal agent of electricity associated with the cathode. A reduction in chloride ions did not significantly reduce the antibacterial activity suggesting chlorine plays only a minor role in the bactericidal activity against organisms attached to anodal electrode surfaces. The bactericidal activity of electric current associated with the cathode and H202 was greatly reduced in the presence of 50 μM to 0.5 mM magnesium ions in the test menstrum. Ten μA applied via the catheters did not prevent the initial biofilm growth by the adherent bacteria but reduced the number of bacteria in the biofilm by 2 log order aiter 24 h. The results suggested that 10 μA may prevent the colonisation of catheters by both the extra~ and intra-luminal routes. The localised production of hydrogen peroxide and chlorine and the intrinsic activity due to electric current may offer a useful method for the eradication of bacteria from catheter surfaces.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: bactericidal activity,catheter related infections,cathode,hydrogen peroxide
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:30
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 10:49
Completed Date: 1997-02
Authors: Liu, Wai-Kin


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