In situ synthesis of biocompatible imidazolium salt hydrogels with antimicrobial activity.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria is becoming a significant public health risk. In this study, we synthesized a series of imidazolium salt (IMS)-containing polymers and hydrogels and tested their antimicrobial properties against both gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA) and gram-negative (Escherichia coli and PA01) bacteria. IMSs were either grafted as side chains or functionalized in the main chain of linear polymers, which demonstrated antimicrobial properties with minimum inhibitory concentrations as low as 2 μg/mL. Similarly, the optimized IMS-containing hydrogel effectively killed MRSA with a 96.1% killing efficiency and inhibited the growth of PA01. These hydrogels also demonstrated high performance in terms of mechanical property (compressive strength >2 MPa) and were noncytotoxic toward human dermal fibroblasts. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: A series of polyimidazolium hydrogels were fabricated with acrylamide monomer and poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate by thermal-initiated polymerization. These hydrogels completely killed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and inhibited the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. More importantly, these hydrogels demonstrated adequate mechanical property and biocompatibility. These antimicrobial hydrogels have the potential as biomaterials for preventing infections associated with multidrug-resistant bacteria.

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© 2019 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2019.09.020

Publication Title

Acta Biomater