Pathogenesis of implant infections by enterococci

Lucilla Baldassarri, R. Creti, L. Montanaro, G. Orefici, C. R. Arciola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enterococci are commensals of human and animal intestinal tract that have emerged in the last decades as a major cause of nosocomial infections of bloodstream, urinary tract and in infected surgical sites. Enterococcus faecalis is responsible for ca. 80% of all enterococcal infections while Enterococcus faecium accounts for most of the others; among the most relevant risk factors for development of enterococcal infections is the presence of implanted devices. The pathogenesis of such infections is poorly understood, but several virulence factors have been proposed. Among them, the ability to form biofilm has recently been shown to be one of the most prominent features of this microorganism, allowing colonization of inert and biological surfaces, while protecting against antimicrobial substances, and mediating adhesion and invasion of host cells and survival within professional phagocytes. Biofilm formation has been shown to be particularly important in the development of prosthetic valve enterococcal endocarditis and stent occlusion. Enterococci are also able to express other surface factors that may support colonization of both inert and biological surfaces, and that may be involved in the invasion of, and survival within, the host cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1109
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Biofilm
  • Enterococci
  • Medical devices
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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