With the effectiveness of antimicrobials declining as antimicrobial resistance continues to threaten public health, we must look to alternative strategies for the treatment of infections. In this study, we investigated an innovative, drug-free, dual-wavelength irradiation approach that combines 2 wavelengths of light, 460 nm and 405 nm, against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA was initially irradiated with 460-nm light (90–360 J/cm2) and subsequently irradiated with aliquots of 405-nm light (54–324 J/cm2). For in vivo studies, mouse skin was abraded and infected with approximately 107 CFUs of MRSA and incubated for 3 hours before irradiating with 460 nm (360 J/cm2) and 405 nm (342 J/cm2). Naive mouse skin was also irradiated to investigate apoptosis. We found that staphyloxanthin, the carotenoid pigment in MRSA cells, promoted resistance to the antimicrobial effects of 405-nm light. In addition, we found that the photolytic effect of 460-nm light on staphyloxanthin attenuated resistance of MRSA to 405-nm light killing. Irradiation of 460 nm alone did not elicit any antimicrobial effect on MRSA. In a proof-of-principle mouse skin abrasion infection model, we observed significant killing of MRSA using the dual-wavelength irradiation approach. However, when either wavelength of light was administered alone, no significant decrease in bacterial viability was observed. Moreover, exposure of the dual-wavelength irradiation to naive mouse skin did not result in any visible apoptosis. In conclusion, a dual-wavelength irradiation strategy may offer an innovative, effective, and safe approach for the treatment of skin infections caused by MRSA.


Leon G. Leanse, Xueping Sharon Goh, Ji-Xin Cheng, David C. Hooper, Tianhong Dai


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