Urethral catheters are among the most widely used medical devices, applied to manage a wide range of conditions in hospital, community, and care home settings. In long-term catheterized individuals, infection with Proteus mirabilis frequently complicates the care of patients owing to formation of extensive crystalline biofilms. Here we describe the use of an in vitro bladder model of the catheterized urinary tract and associated analyses to study P. mirabilis crystalline biofilm formation. The model originally described by Stickler et al. (1999, 310:494–501, Enzymol, Methods) replicates a complete sterile closed drainage system as used in clinical practice, and permits formation of biofilms directly on catheters under conditions representative of those encountered in vivo. Models may be used to replicate either established infection or early stage colonization, and we describe a range of associated methods for quantification and visualization of biofilms formed on catheters. These methods are also easily adapted to study catheter-associated biofilm formation by other urinary tract pathogens.
|Methods in Molecular Biology