Effects of Topical Antimicrobial Agents on the Human Neutrophil Respiratory Burst

John F. Hansbrough, Ramon L. Zapata Sirvent, Matthew L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The neutrophil oxidative burst plays an important role in killing intracellular microorganisms. We studied the effects of topical antimicrobial agents on the N-formyl-l-methionyl-l-leucyl-l-phenylalanine–stimulated oxidative burst of human peripheral blood neutrophils, using a flow cytometric assay. Mafenide acetate, sulfadiazine silver, gentamicin sulfate, neomycin sulfate–polymyxin B sulfate (Neosporin GU Irrigant), acetic acid, amphotericin B, and povidone-iodine inhibited the neutrophil oxidative burst at or below clinical concentrations, while 0.25% modified diluted sodium hypochlorite (Dakin's) solution caused cell death. Bacitracin–polymyxin B sulfate (Polysporin) greatly augmented the respiratory burst; this effect was due to the bacitracin component. Diluted gentamicin and acetic acid also augmented intracellular hydrogen peroxide production, but to a lesser extent than Polysporin. Inhibition of the respiratory burst of neutrophils might be considered when these agents are used for topical wound care, although clinical correlates of these effects have not been determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-608
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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