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Comparison of the effects of silver nanoparticles on pathogenic bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics (ESBLs) as a prokaryote model and Wistar rats as a eukaryote model

Monir Doudi, Nooshin Naghsh, Mahbubeh Setorki

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2013; 19:103-110

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.883835

Available online:

Published: 2013-03-18


Background: Antimicrobial resistance in hospital pathogens is an important concern. It can cause longer hospital stays, increase costs, and contribute to increased mortality and morbidity in hospitalized patients. The aim of this study was to categorize and identify gram-negative bacilli capable of ESBLs production and to study the effect of MIC silver nanoparticles on bacteria strains and then study them in Wistar rats.
Material and Methods: A total of 186 clinical samples in 3 hospital of Isfahan city was studied during 8 months. The ESBL assay was performed by disk diffusion method. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined by agar dilution method. Additionally, ESBLs production was examined by using the standard ESBL disc and DDT (double disk approximation test) procedures. Student’s T-test and ANOVA were used for statistical analysis of the data. The ESBL-producing bacteria were then subjected to minimum concentrations of silver nanoparticles and then examined in Wistar rats.
Results: Of the 186 patients studied, 140 (75.3%) had gram-negative bacilli containing ESBL and 46 (24.7%) had gram-negative bacilli without ESBL and the most prevalent bacteria was identified as Klebsiella pneumonia, with especially strong resistance to cefotaxime. All of these bacteria were sensitive to the silver nanoparticle solution with density of 100 ppm, but the 4 nm size did not show any significant difference from control group Wistar rats at 6 months.
Conclusions: The results seem to indicate a direct correlation between silver nanoparticle solution concentration and the diameter of growth zone for ESBL-producing bacteria. Assays in our study were in vitro; if use of silver nanoparticle particles in vivo proves to be with adverse effects, it could be a valuable alternative to antibiotics.

Keywords: Metal Nanoparticles - chemistry, Klebsiella pneumoniae - drug effects, Gram-Negative Bacteria - drug effects, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Drug Evaluation, Preclinical, Drug Design, Cefotaxime - pharmacology, Anti-Bacterial Agents - pharmacology, Animals, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Silver - chemistry, beta-Lactams - pharmacology