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Nat Mater. 2011 Feb;10(2):149-56. doi: 10.1038/nmat2915. Epub 2010 Dec 12.

A polycationic antimicrobial and biocompatible hydrogel with microbe membrane suctioning ability.

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School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 62 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637459, Singapore.


Despite advanced sterilization and aseptic techniques, infections associated with medical implants have not been eradicated. Most present coatings cannot simultaneously fulfil the requirements of antibacterial and antifungal activity as well as biocompatibility and reusability. Here, we report an antimicrobial hydrogel based on dimethyldecylammonium chitosan (with high quaternization)-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (DMDC-Q-g-EM) and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate, which has excellent antimicrobial efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Fusarium solani. The proposed mechanism of the antimicrobial activity of the polycationic hydrogel is by attraction of sections of anionic microbial membrane into the internal nanopores of the hydrogel, like an 'anion sponge', leading to microbial membrane disruption and then microbe death. We have also demonstrated a thin uniform adherent coating of the hydrogel by simple ultraviolet immobilization. An animal study shows that DMDC-Q-g-EM hydrogel coating is biocompatible with rabbit conjunctiva and has no toxicity to the epithelial cells or the underlying stroma.

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