Chronic nonhealing skin wounds often contain bacterial biofilms that prevent normal wound healing and closure and present challenges to the use of conventional wound dressings. We investigated inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation, a common pathogen of chronic skin wounds, on a commercially available biological wound dressing. Building on prior reports, we examined whether the amino acid tryptophan would inhibit P. aeruginosa biofilm formation on the three-dimensional surface of the biological dressing. Bacterial biomass and biofilm polysaccharides were quantified using crystal violet staining or an enzyme linked lectin, respectively. Bacterial cells and biofilm matrix adherent to the wound dressing were visualized through scanning electron microscopy. d-/l-tryptophan inhibited P. aeruginosa biofilm formation on the wound dressing in a dose dependent manner and was not directly cytotoxic to immortalized human keratinocytes although there was some reduction in cellular metabolism or enzymatic activity. More importantly, d-/l-tryptophan did not impair wound healing in a splinted skin wound murine model. Furthermore, wound closure was improved when d-/l-tryptophan treated wound dressing with P. aeruginosa biofilms were compared with untreated dressings. These findings indicate that tryptophan may prove useful for integration into wound dressings to inhibit biofilm formation and promote wound healing.
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