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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00537

Gas plasma pre-treatment increases antibiotic sensitivity and persister eradication in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

 Li Guo1*, Ruobing Xu2, Yiming Zhao2, Dingxin Liu1, Zhijie Liu1, Xiaohua Wang1, Hailan Chen3 and Michael Kong1, 3, 4
  • 1Center for Plasma Biomedicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
  • 2School of Life Science and Technolog, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
  • 3Frank Reidy Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University, United States
  • 4Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Old Dominion University, United States

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of serious nosocomial infections, and recurrent MRSA infections primarily result from the survival of persister cells after antibiotic treatment. Gas plasma, a novel source of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and RNS (reactive nitrogen species) generation, not only inactivates pathogenic microbes but also restore the sensitivity of MRSA to antibiotics. This study further found that sublethal treatment of MRSA with both plasma and plasma-activated saline increased the antibiotic sensitivity and promoted the eradication of persister cells by tetracycline, gentamycin, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, rifampicin, and vancomycin. The short-lived ROS and RNS generated by plasma played a primary role in the process and induced the increase of many species of ROS and RNS in MRSA cells. Thus, our data indicated that the plasma treatment could promote the effects of many different classes of antibiotics and act as an antibiotic sensitizer for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria involved in infectious diseases.

Keywords: antibiotics resistance, Cold atmospheric-pressure plasma, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Reactive Oxygen Species, Reactive Nitrogen Species

Received: 14 Dec 2017; Accepted: 08 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Noton K. Dutta, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Reviewed by:

Xiancai Rao, Army Medical University, China
Airat R. Kayumov, Kazan Federal University, Russia  

Copyright: © 2018 Guo, Xu, Zhao, Liu, Liu, Wang, Chen and Kong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Li Guo, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Center for Plasma Biomedicine, No.99 Yanxiang Road, Xi'an, China,