Phages in a thermoreversible sustainedrelease formulation targeting E. faecalis in vitro and in vivo

Mor Shlezinger, Michael Friedman, Yael Houri-Haddad, Ronen Hazan, Nurit Beyth

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34 Scopus citations


Introduction Enterococcus faecalis is a key pathogen recovered from root canals when conventional treatment fails. Phage therapy has generated new interest in combating pathogens. A sustained- release formulation using specific phages against E. faecalis may offer an alternative approach. Objectives To evaluate the efficacy of anti-E. faecalis phages formulated in a thermo- sustainedrelease system against E. faecalis in vitro and in vivo. Methods EFDG1 and EFLK1 phages were formulated with poloxamer P407. Gelation time, phage survival, activity and toxicity were evaluated. Lytic activity was evaluated in vitro against E. faecalis at various growth phases, including anti-biofilm activity. Methods included viable bacterial count (CFU/mL), biofilm biomass determination and electron microscopy (live/ dead staining). Further evaluation included infected incisors in an in vivo rat model. Anti-E. faecalis phage-cocktail suspension and sustained-release phage formulation were evaluated by viable bacterial count (CFU/mL), histology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 16S genome sequencing of the microbiota of the root canal. Results Gelation time for clinical use was established. Low toxicity and a high phage survival rate were recorded. Sustained-release phages reduced E. faecalis in logarithmic (4 logs), stationary (3 logs) and biofilm (4 logs) growth phases. Prolonged anti-biofilm activity of 88% and 95% reduction in biomass and viable counts, respectively, was recorded. Reduction of intracanal viable bacterial counts was observed (99% of enterococci) also seen in SEM. Phage treatment increased Proteobacteria and decreased Firmicutes. Histology showed reduced periapical inflammation and improved healing following phage treatment. Conclusion Poloxamer P407 formulated with phages has an effective and long-lasting effect in vitro and in vivo targeting E. faecalis.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0219599
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019

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© 2019 Shlezinger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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