Coating of endotracheal tubes with sphingosine to prevent bacterial growth and ventilator-associated pneumonia

    Jürgen Seibel1 and Erich Gulbins2

    1Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

    2Dept. of Molecular Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, 45122 Essen, Germany


    Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious clinical problem and an important cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Bacterial infections of the upper airway combined with the development of bacterial biofilm on those tubes has proven to be an important factor. Our group was the first to show that sphingosine, a sphingolipid present in most eukaryotic membranes, is present in high concentrations in the respiratory epithelium and plays an important role in the innate immunity of the upper respiratory tract by preventing bacterial invasion into the lower airways [1].

    We will now investigate whether sphingosine analogs can be (covalently) linked to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes to obtain bactericidal surfaces without changing the material properties. Ultimately, we aim to determine whether endotracheal tubes coated with sphingosine analogs prevent local and systemic bacterial infections in vivo in a mouse model.  


    Project related publications:

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    Teichgräber V, Ulrich M, Endlich N, Riethmüller J, Wilker B, De Oliveira-Munding CC, van Heeckeren AM, Barr ML, von Kürthy G, Schmid KW, Weller M, Tümmler B, Lang F, Grassmé H, Döring G, Gulbins E. (2008) Ceramide accumulation mediates inflammation, cell death and infection susceptibility in cystic fibrosis. Nat. Med. 14:382-91.

    Grassmé H, Jendrossek V, Riehle A, von Kürthy G, Berger J, Schwarz H, Weller M, Kolesnick R, Gulbins E. (2003) Host defense against Pseudomonas aeruginosa requires ceramide-rich membrane rafts. Nat. Med. 9:322-30.

    Grassmé H, Kirschnek S, Riethmueller J, Riehle A, von Kürthy G, Lang F, Weller M, Gulbins E. (2000) CD95/CD95 ligand interactions on epithelial cells in host defense to Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Science 290:527-30