The immune system protects against the formation of biofilms. That was previously believed. In contrast, however, now RESIST researchers led by Professor Dr. Reinhold Förster have discovered that the immune system enhances the formation of biofilms with the help of a new developed mouse model for their research.

Biofilms – an important topic in the Cluster of Excellence RESIST – are well-organised bacterial communities that colonise implants (among others), and which are neither affected by the immune system nor by antibiotics. Professor Förster, head of the MHH Institute of Immunology, and his research group have now established the first mouse model that can be used to investigate the formation and combating of biofilms. As part of a RESIST project, Dr. Rodrigo Gutierrez Jauregui (photo) was able to gain first insights and publish them in the journal “Frontiers in Immunology”: “In contrast to the previous assumption that the immune system counteracts the formation of biofilms, it has been shown that the defence mechanisms promote the formation of biofilms,” said Professor Förster. The mouse model allows further biofilm research and the development of new therapies.

The team implanted osmotic pumps into the mice in order to form biofilms that made it possible to supply immune-cell-activating substances such as cytokines. This way it was possible to investigate their effect on biofilm formation. You can find the original publication here.