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Biomaterials. 2013 May;34(14):3678-87. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.01.096. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Self-assembly of ciprofloxacin and a tripeptide into an antimicrobial nanostructured hydrogel.

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CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Bayview Avenue, Clayton, Victoria 3053, Australia.


This work reports the self-assembly of a sparingly soluble antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) and a hydrophobic tripeptide ((D)Leu-Phe-Phe) into supramolecular nanostructures that yield a macroscopic hydrogel at physiological pH. Drug incorporation results in modified morphology and rheological properties of the self-assembled hydrogel. These changes can be correlated with intermolecular interactions between the drug and the peptide, as confirmed by spectroscopic analysis (fluorescence, circular dichroism, IR). The drug appears bound within the hydrogel by non-covalent interactions, and retains its activity over a prolonged release timescale. Antimicrobial activity of the ciprofloxacin-peptide self-assembled hydrogel was evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and a clinical strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Interestingly, the peptide hydrogel alone exhibited a mild anti-bacterial activity against Gram-negative bacteria. While toxic to bacteria, no major cytotoxicity was seen in haemolysis assays of human red blood cells or in mouse fibroblast cell cultures. This new approach of drug incorporation into the nanostructure of a simple tripeptide hydrogel by self-assembly may have important applications for cost-effective wound dressings and novel antimicrobial formulations.

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