Exploring Penicillin G as an Intrawound Antibiotic Powder for Prevention of Postoperative Shoulder Infections: Does It Exhibit In Vitro Chondrotoxicity?

Nischal S. Nadig, K. Aaron Shaw, Stephen A. Parada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) is a significant insidious pathogen for postoperative infections in shoulder surgery. Studies have demonstrated that certain topical antibiotic powders used have the potential for chondrotoxicity. Benzylpenicillin, commonly referred to as Penicillin G (Pen G) has the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for C. acnes. There is no research regarding the topical application of Pen G during shoulder surgery, nor has its chondrocyte toxicity been previously investigated. This study sought to characterize the in vitro chondrocyte toxicity of Pen G. Culture-derived bovine chondrocytes were exposed to serial Pen G concentrations and compared with a positive and negative control. A negative control of growth medium and positive control of 1% Triton solution. The chondrocyte viability was assessed via spectrophotometer absorbance. The treatment groups were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance and Pearson's correlation analysis. The chondrocyte viability was significantly higher for all Pen G concentrations as compared with the positive control (p < 0.001). All concentrations of Pen G exhibited continued chondrocyte metabolic activity over time. Analysis of variance, independent of time, demonstrated no significant decrease in chondrocyte viability for Pen G concentrations ≤6.25 mg/ml, as compared with the negative control (p > 0.05). Pen G demonstrated a significant negative correlation with its concentration and absorbance (r = 0.371, p < 0.001), however, concentrations ≤6.25 mg/ml did not demonstrate a significant decrease in chondrocyte viability (p = 0.063). Pen G in concentrations appropriate for C. acnes is not significantly chondrotoxic and may be safe for intrawound application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-730
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • C. acnes
  • antibiotics
  • cartilage
  • chondrocytes
  • shoulder infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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