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Chapter 4

Silver as an Antibiotic: Problems of Resistance

The antimicrobial action of silver in medical devices is proportional to Ag+ released and its capacity to interact with receptors on the cell membrane. Lethality in bacteria and fungi is a function of the ability of the ion to bind with and denature proteins of the cell membrane, evoke irreversible changes in intracellular homeostasis and to induce structural and functional change. Silver exhibits only limited antiviral action. Sensitivity and resistance to silver is modulated by genetical up-regulation and expression of Sil-proteins which control intracellular silver by a pump mechanism. Plasmids are involved. Biofilms composed of mixed colonies of pathogens are resistant to silver and present clinical and practical difficulties in in-dwelling catheters and other devices designed for long term intraparenteral insertion.

Print publication date: 07 May 2010
Copyright year: 2010
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-006-8
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-179-9
From the book series:
Issues in Toxicology