Preclinical models of musculoskeletal infection

Developing standardized preclinical models to combat fracture-related infection

Musculoskeletal infections, such as fracture-related infection (FRI) are among the most common complications associated with the surgical fixation of trauma-related bone fractures. These infections usually involve bacterial colonization and biofilm formation on the fracture-fixation device, as well as infection of the surrounding tissues. Antibiotic prophylaxis, wound debridement, and postsurgical care can reduce, but not prevent, the incidence of these infections and so novel interventional strategies are required.

In the Musculoskeletal Infection group, we aim to use and develop standardized preclinical models of FRI that may be used to test the performance of any such new intervention. The value of a well standardized model is shown by our rabbit humeral osteotomy model with plating fixation and Staphylococcus aureus infection.

The model has well described response to conventional antibiotic prophylaxis and treatment, with a good understanding of fracture healing in the presence or absence of infection. These features make the model a useful tool to study novel interventions where comparison to current gold standard, and fracture healing is required. Another model of interest is our large animal model of chronic intramedullary nail-related MRSA infection, with staged or direct re-nailing. This model is of interest as it utilizes human implants and human scale treatment protocols.

Although direct extrapolation from preclinical studies to the clinical setting is difficult, the development of standardized preclinical models of infection is expected to increase the relevance and comparability of results arising from preclinical studies.


To develop standardized preclinical models of musculoskeletal infection and thereby increase their value and robustness for clinical translation.

Other focus area

Meet the team

See more about the team on the Musculosketelal Infection group page

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