In vivo study of biodegradable alginate antibiotic beads in rabbits

Steve W.N. Ueng*, Li Jen Yuan, Ning Lee, Song Shu Lin, Err Cheng Chan, Jui Hsun Weng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

41 Scopus citations


The authors investigated the lyophilized poly-l-lysine-coated alginate antibiotic delivery system in vivo for the treatment of musculoskeletal infections. The sodium alginate was mixed with vancomycin, coated with poly-l-lysine and lyophilized to form 3 mm in diameter biodegradable antibiotic beads. The antibiotic beads were implanted in the distal femoral cavities of rabbits for in vivo investigation. The local concentration of vancomycin was well above the minimal inhibitory concentration of Staphylococcus aureus for 21 days. The release was most marked during the first two days. The diameters of sample inhibition zone ranged from 8 to 16 mm, the relative activity of vancomycin ranged from 12.5% to 100%. The blood level of vancomycin reached its peak (46.0 mg/l) two days after implantation and fell to 3.2 mg/l at two weeks. It was undetectable after three weeks. There was no increase in the concentration of blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine after the implantation. Histological observations showed that bead materials were biodegradable, resorbed slowly and only cause mild host reaction. This study offers a biodegradable delivery system of antibiotics to treat musculoskeletal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-599
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Alginate
  • Biodegradable antibiotic beads
  • In vivo study
  • Rabbit
  • Vancomycin


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