An integrated microfluidic system for antimicrobial susceptibility testing with antibiotic combination†
Polypharmacy is routinely administered to fight severe infections, though it has led to rampant multi-drug resistance in many bacterial strains. Preferably, antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) would be carried out prior to antibiotic prescription, though it is generally thought to be too complex and labor-intensive. In order to assist clinicians with better antibiotic administration for the effective treatment of bacterial infections, an integrated microfluidic system (IMS) capable of automating AST for 1–2 antibiotics against clinical bacterial pathogens was developed herein. Accurate determination of the minimum and fractional inhibitory concentrations of vancomycin, gentamicin, and linezolid were determined by assaying growth of two clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates via a colorimetric assay on-chip. By applying various antibiotic combinations against a single pathogen in multiple chambers, the IMS could identify the optimal drug combination and the minimum effective dosage by evaluating the fractional inhibitory concentration index. This IMS possessed several advantages over conventional methods, including (1) a 50% reduction in bacterial sample and reagent volume (<50 μL per well), (2) less potential for human error due to its automatic nature, (3) faster liquid manipulation time by integrating the microfluidic components rather than labor-intensive process, and (4) straightforward result interpretation via colorimetric change instead of turbidity degree. Personalized medicine for treatment of bacterial infections may therefore be realized using this IMS.