Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are a significant healthcare burden affecting millions of patients annually. CAUTI are characterized by infection of the bladder and pathogen colonization of the catheter surface, making them especially difficult to treat. Various catheter modifications have been employed to reduce pathogen colonization, including infusion of antibiotics and antimicrobial compounds, altering the surface architecture of the catheter, or coating it with nonpathogenic bacteria. Lactobacilli probiotics offer promise for a “bacterial interference” approach because they not only compete for adhesion to the catheter surface but also produce and secrete antimicrobial compounds effective against uropathogens. Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has enabled fabrication of well-defined, cell-laden architectures with tailored release of active agents, thereby offering a novel means for sustained probiotic delivery. Silicone has shown to be a promising biomaterial for catheter applications due to mechanical strength, biocompatibility, and its ability to mitigate encrustation on the catheter. Additionally, silicone, as a bioink, provides an optimum matrix for bioprinting lactobacilli. This study formulates and characterizes novel 3D-bioprinted Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus)-containing silicone scaffolds for future urinary tract catheterization applications. Weight-to-weight (w/w) ratio of silicone/L. rhamnosus was bioprinted and cured with relative catheter dimensions in diameter. Scaffolds were analyzed in vitro for mechanical integrity, recovery of L. rhamnosus, antimicrobial production, and antibacterial effect against uropathogenic Escherichia coli, the leading cause of CAUTI. The results show that L. rhamnosus-containing scaffolds are capable of sustained recovery of live bacteria over 14 days, with sustained production of lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Through the use of 3D bioprinting, this study presents a potential alternative strategy to incorporate probiotics into urinary catheters, with the ultimate goal of preventing and treating CAUTI.
- 3D bioprinting
- 3D printing
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)
- sustained drug delivery
- uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC)