Crowe Lab

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Subclinical bacterial infections (biofilms) are strongly implicated in breast augmentation failure due to capsular contracture, and while these infections are generally ascribed to common skin commensals, this remains largely unsubstantiated through robust cultivation independent analyses. To determine capsule biofilm microbial community compositions, we employed amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene using DNA extracted from breast implant capsule samples. These cultivation independent analyses revealed that capsule associated biofilms are more diverse than canonical single-species infections, but have relatively low diversity (~ <100 species) compared to many host-associated microbial communities. In addition to taxa commonly associated with capsular contracture, the biofilms analyzed comprised a number of taxa that escaped detection in cultivation-dependent work. We have also isolated several key taxa identified through the culture-independent analyses. Together our analyses reveal that capsule biofilms are more diverse than cultivation studies suggest and can be heterogeneous within an individual capsule, between breasts of the same patient, across similar implant types, and over a range in severity of contracture. The complex nature of these communities requires further study across a broader suite of patients in addition to higher resolution analyses including metagenomics to better assess the fundamental role of microorganisms in capsular contracture.