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Residual antimicrobial effect of chlorhexidine digluconate and octenidine dihydrochloride on reconstructed human epidermis

             The objective of the present investigation was to examine the residual antimicrobial activity after a topical exposure of reconstructed human epidermis (RHE) to equimolar solutions of either chlorhexidine digluconate (CHG, 0.144% w/v) or octenidine dihydrochloride (OCT, 0.1% w/v) for 15 min. RHE-associated antiseptic agents were more effective on Staphylococcus aureus than on Pseudomonas aeruginosa. S. aureus was not detected after 24 h of contact, which demonstrated a microbicidal efficacy of greater than 5-log10 reduction. In contrast, P. aeruginosa was reduced by approximately 2 log10 at the same incubation time, which parallels the growth of the initial inoculum. This result could be interpreted either as a microbiostatic effect or as an adherence of P. aeruginosa to a low positively charged surface. Small amounts of CHG and OCT can penetrate the stratum corneum. Using these antiseptic agents, the viability of keratinocytes was reduced to 65-75% of that of the untreated RHE control following 24 h incubation in the presence of test microorganisms. With consideration of antimicrobial activity and cytotoxic effect, OCT corresponds better to a biocompatible antiseptic agent than CHG.