Electrical bandages, ones that allow electric current to make contact with the wound, have been known for a while to be very effective at speeding up healing. Over the past decade there’s been a great deal of technological development in this field, but the mechanism behind why these “electroceuticals” really work has been poorly understood. Now researchers at Ohio State University have shown that these devices disrupt the formation of bacterial biofilms, which are how cells group together to defend themselves against antibiotics and the body’s immune system.
Biofilms are held together by so-called extracellular polymeric substances, which are conglomerations of mostly fats and proteins that few things can break through. The Ohio State researchers have shown that the right electrical impulses coming from properly placed materials destroy the extracellular polymeric substances and so don’t allow a safe space for bacteria to grow.
The researchers developed a highly detailed weave for bandages using a Japanese technique called haboti. This allowed them to deliver the electric current to a bacterial biofilm with great precision. They then studied bacterial biofilms that were treated with the bandage under an electron microscope, which allowed them to see exactly what was being affected, and that it was not the bacteria themselves but the protective structure around them.
The new knowledge will certainly help designers of electroceuticals to focus better on their targets, which will hopefully improve the effectiveness of these devices.
Study in Scientific Reports: Electroceutical Treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms…