Insights into S. aureus-Induced Bone Deformation in a Mouse Model of Chronic Osteomyelitis Using Fluorescence and Raman Imaging
in: International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2023)
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that is often difficult to treat and causes a significant healthcare burden. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen causing osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis mouse models have been established to gain further insights into the pathogenesis and host response. Here, we use an established S. aureus hematogenous osteomyelitis mouse model to investigate morphological tissue changes and bacterial localization in chronic osteomyelitis with a focus on the pelvis. X-ray imaging was performed to follow the disease progression. Six weeks post infection, when osteomyelitis had manifested itself with a macroscopically visible bone deformation in the pelvis, we used two orthogonal methods, namely fluorescence imaging and label-free Raman spectroscopy, to characterise tissue changes on a microscopic scale and to localise bacteria in different tissue regions. Hematoxylin and eosin as well as Gram staining were performed as a reference method. We could detect all signs of a chronically florid tissue infection with osseous and soft tissue changes as well as with different inflammatory infiltrate patterns. Large lesions dominated in the investigated tissue samples. Bacteria were found to form abscesses and were distributed in high numbers in the lesion, where they could occasionally also be detected intracellularly. In addition, bacteria were found in lower numbers in surrounding muscle tissue and even in lower numbers in trabecular bone tissue. The Raman spectroscopic imaging revealed a metabolic state of the bacteria with reduced activity in agreement with small cell variants found in other studies. In conclusion, we present novel optical methods to characterise bone infections, including inflammatory host tissue reactions and bacterial adaptation.