This initial look into what may be a routine survey of metagenomic data from week to week. Led by FASMA’s Adam Isaac, CosmosID’s (National Science Foundation Director Emerita) Prof. Rita Colwell and our team.
Objective: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are characterised by the presence of many microbes, some of which may not be identified by traditional culture techniques. Total contact casting (TCC) remains the gold-standard for offloading, yet little is known about the microbiome of wounds that progress from hard-to-heal to closed within a TCC.
Method: A patient with a DFU underwent weekly treatment with TCC to closure. Samples for next-generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics analysis of tissue samples were collected during each visit. Detection, identification, characterisation of the microbial community and abundance of microbes in each sample were compared.
Results: Abundance of microbes, identified by species and strain, changed with each treatment visit. By the final week of treatment, species diversity of the wound microbiome had decreased significantly, highlighted by an observed decrease in the number of total microorganisms present. Resistance genes for tetracyclines were detected in the first sample, but not in subsequent samples.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest dynamic microbiological changes associated with DFUs as they progress to healing within a TCC. As NGS becomes more readily available, further studies will be helpful to gain an improved understanding of the significance of the wound microbiome in patients with DFUs.