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ISRN Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 853123, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/853123
Review Article

Host Defence against Bacterial Biofilms: “Mission Impossible”?

Institute for Immunology, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 11 September 2012; Accepted 4 October 2012

Academic Editors: C. Faveeuw, D. Lilic, P. Puccetti, and A. Taylor-Robinson

Copyright © 2012 Gertrud Maria Hänsch. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Bacteria living as biofilms have been recognised as the ultimate cause of persistent and destructive inflammatory processes. Biofilm formation is a well-organised, genetically-driven process, which is well characterised for numerous bacteria species. In contrast, the host response to bacterial biofilms is less well analysed, and there is the general believe that bacteria in biofilms escape recognition or eradication by the immune defence. In this review the host response to bacterial biofilms is discussed with particular focus on the role of neutrophils because these phagocytic cells are the first to infiltrate areas of bacterial infection, and because neutrophils are equipped with a wide arsenal of bactericidal and toxic entities. I come to the conclusion that bacterial biofilms are not inherently protected against the attack by neutrophils, but that control of biofilm formation is possible depending on a timely and sufficient host response.