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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 25;20(4). pii: E1001. doi: 10.3390/ijms20041001.

Synthesis, Characterization, and Bacterial Fouling-Resistance Properties of Polyethylene Glycol-Grafted Polyurethane Elastomers.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy. iolanda.francolini@uniroma1.it.
2
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy. ilaria.silvestro@uniroma1.it.
3
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy. valerio.dilisio@uniroma1.it.
4
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy. andrea.martinelli@uniroma1.it.
5
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy. antonella.piozzi@uniroma.it.

Abstract

Despite advances in material sciences and clinical procedures for surgical hygiene, medical device implantation still exposes patients to the risk of developing local or systemic infections. The development of efficacious antimicrobial/antifouling materials may help with addressing such an issue. In this framework, polyethylene glycol (PEG)-grafted segmented polyurethanes were synthesized, physico-chemically characterized, and evaluated with respect to their bacterial fouling-resistance properties. PEG grafting significantly altered the polymer bulk and surface properties. Specifically, the PEG-grafted polyurethanes possessed a more pronounced hard/soft phase segregated microstructure, which contributed to improving the mechanical resistance of the polymers. The better flexibility of the soft phase in the PEG-functionalized polyurethanes compared to the pristine polyurethane (PU) was presumably also responsible for the higher ability of the polymer to uptake water. Additionally, dynamic contact angle measurements evidenced phenomena of surface reorganization of the PEG-functionalized polyurethanes, presumably involving the exposition of the polar PEG chains towards water. As a consequence, Staphylococcus epidermidis initial adhesion onto the surface of the PEG-functionalized PU was essentially inhibited. That was not true for the pristine PU. Biofilm formation was also strongly reduced.

KEYWORDS:

antifouling materials; medical device-related infections; microbial biofilm; polyethylene glycol; segmented polyurethanes; wound dressings

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