Chlorquinaldol, a topical agent for skin and wound infections: Anti-biofilm activity and biofilm-related antimicrobial cross-resistance

Alessandro Bidossi, Marta Bottagisio, Roberta De Grandi, Lorenzo Drago, Elena De Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Persistence of skin and wound infections is nowadays accepted being linked to bacterial biofilms, which are highly recalcitrant to treatments and contribute to maintain a constant inflammation state and prevent a correct healing. Topical antimicrobials are the most common first-line self-medications; however, treatment failure is not uncommon and emerging resistance to antibiotics is alarming. Chlorquinaldol is an antimicrobial with a wide spectrum of activity and desirable characteristics for topical application. Aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of chlorquinaldol to prevent or eradicate S. aureus and P. aeruginosa biofilms, in comparison to classic topical antibiotics like gentamicin and fusidic acid. Methods: Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) were assessed for each strain and subinhibitory concentrations (½ and ¼ MIC) were used in the biofilm assay. Antimicrobial assays were performed during biofilm formation or were applied on mature biofilms and were evaluated by means of crystal violet assay and confocal laser scan microscopy. Results: Chlorquinaldol and gentamicin were the most effective antimicrobials in both eradicating and preventing pathogens biofilm; however, resistance to methicillin and impermeability to carbapenems impaired chlorquinaldol effect. In addition, similarly to other hydroxyquinolines, aspecific metal chelation is here proposed as chlorquinaldol mode of action. Conclusion: Relying on an acceptable antibiofilm and a wide spectrum of activity, an aspecific mode of action and consequent absence of resistance development, chlorquinaldol proved to be a good antimicrobial for topical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2177-2189
Number of pages13
JournalInfection and Drug Resistance
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Biofilm
  • Chlorquinaldol
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Skin and wound tissue infection
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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