Role of multispecies microbial biofilms in the occlusion of biliary stents

Emilio Guaglianone, Rita Cardines, Paola Mastrantonio, Roberta Di Rosa, Adriano Penni, Gianluca Puggioni, Antonio Basoli, Fausto Fiocca, Gianfranco Donelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endoscopic stenting is a standard palliative approach for the treatment of a variety of diseases involving biliary obstruction. However, the major limitation of this approach is represented by stent occlusion followed by life-threatening cholangitis, often requiring stent removal and replacement with a new one. Although it is generally believed that microbial colonization of the inner surface of the stent plays an important role in initiating the clogging process, so far available data are not enough for a full understanding of this phenomenon. In fact, it is known that when a biliary stent is inserted across the sphincter of Oddi, the loss of the antimicrobial barrier represented by the sphincter itself and the low pressure in the common bile duct allow reflux of duodenal content, thus promoting an ascending microbial colonization. The sessile mode of growth and the exopolysaccharide production, which leads to the subsequent establishment of a thick biofilm, provides microorganisms with an efficient protection from both antibacterial agents and phagocytic cells. The aim of this study was to analyze the tridimensional structure of the microbial biofilm grown in the lumen of 15 clogged biliary stents and to identify the microbial species involved in the clogging process. Scanning electron microscopy investigations revealed that sludge present in the stent lumen consist of a rich and assorted microbial flora, including aerobic and anaerobic species, mixed with a large amount of amorphous material containing dietary fibres, crystals of cholesterol and other precipitates of bacteria-driven bile salts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-209
Number of pages3
JournalMicrobial Ecology in Health and Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Biliary stent
  • Biofilm
  • Microbial colonization
  • Stent occlusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of multispecies microbial biofilms in the occlusion of biliary stents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this