Discoveries associated with antibacterial activity of hydrated clays necessitate assessments of in vivo efficacy, practical use and safety. Surface properties of clays can lead to variations in the composition and abundance of bound compounds or ions, thus affecting antibacterial activity. Since exchangeable metal ions released from the clay surface are responsible for in vitro antibacterial activity, we evaluated the in vivo antibacterial efficacy of four natural clays (one illite clay, two montmorillonite clays and one kaolinite clay) and three ion-exchanged, antibacterial clays against superficial, cutaneous meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in mice. Superficial, cutaneous wounds on the back of SKH1-Elite mice were generated and subsequently infected with MRSA. Following twice daily applications of a hydrated clay poultice to infected wounds for 7 days, we observed significant differences in the in vivo antibacterial efficacy between different types of clays. The natural and ion-exchanged illite clays performed best, as measured by bacterial load, inflammatory response and gross wound morphology with significant decreases in bacterial viability and dermatitis. Topical application of kaolinite clay was the least effective, resulting in the lowest decrease in bacterial load and exhibiting severe dermatitis. These data suggest that specific types of clays may offer a complementary and integrative strategy for topically treating MRSA and other cutaneous infections. However, since natural clays exhibit in vitro antibacterial variability and vary vastly in surface chemistries, adsorptive/absorptive characteristics and structural composition, the properties and characteristics of illite clays could aid in the development of standardized and customized aluminosilicates for topical infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)