The Immune Response to Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa Wound Infection in Immunocompetent Mice

Johanna M. Sweere, Heather Ishak, Vivekananda Sunkari, Michelle S. Bach, Robert Manasherob, Koshika Yadava, Shannon M. Ruppert, Chandan K. Sen, Swathi Balaji, Sundeep G. Keswani, Patrick R. Secor, Paul L. Bollyky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Our goal was to develop a chronic wound model in mice that avoids implantation of foreign material or impaired immunity and to use this to characterize the local and systemic immune response associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Approach: We generated bilateral full-thickness dermal wounds in healthy 10-12-week-old C57Bl6 mice. We waited 24 h to inoculate the developing wound eschar at these sites. We performed careful titration experiments with luminescent strains of P. aeruginosa to identify bacterial inoculation concentrations that consistently established stable infections in these animals. We performed flow cytometry-based immunophenotyping of immune cell infiltrates at the wound site, spleen, and draining lymph nodes over time. Finally, we compared inflammatory responses seen in wound inoculation with planktonic bacteria, preformed biofilm, and heat-killed (HK) P. aeruginosa. Results: Using this delayed inoculation model and 7.5 ± 2.5 × 102 CFU/mL of PAO1 we consistently established stable infections that lasted at 10 days in duration. During early infection, we detected a strong upregulation of inflammatory cytokines and neutrophil infiltration at the wound site, while natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DCs) were reduced. At the systemic level, only plasmacytoid DCs were increased early in infection. During later stages, there was systemic upregulation of B cells, T cells, and macrophages, whereas NK cells and interferon killer DCs were reduced. Infections with P. aeruginosa biofilms were not more virulent than infections with planktonic P. aeruginosa, whereas treatment with HK P. aeruginosa only induces a short-term inflammatory state. Innovation: We describe a versatile wound model of chronic P. aeruginosa infection that lasts 10 days without causing sepsis or other excessive morbidity. Conclusion: This model may facilitate the study of chronic wound infections in immunocompetent mice. Our findings also highlight the induction of early innate immune cell populations during P. aeruginosa infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Wound Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Pseudomonas
  • chronic infection
  • immune profiling
  • wound model


Dive into the research topics of 'The Immune Response to Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa Wound Infection in Immunocompetent Mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this