Antimicrobial Peptide-Conjugated Hierarchical Antifouling Polymer Brushes for Functionalized Catheter Surfaces

Catheter-related infection is a great challenge to modern medicine, which causes significant economic burden and increases patient morbidity. Hence, there is a great requirement for functionalized surfaces with inherently antibacterial properties and biocompatibility that prevent bacterial colonization and attachment of blood cells. Herein, we developed a strategy for constructing polymer brushes with hierarchical architecture on polyurethane (PU) via surface-initiated atom-transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP). Surface-functionalized PU (PU-DMH) was readily prepared, which comprised of poly­(3-[dimethyl-[2-(2-methylprop-2-enoyloxy)­ethyl]­azaniumyl]­propane-1-sulfonate) (PDMAPS) brushes as the lower layer and antimicrobial peptide-conjugated poly­(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) brushes as the upper layer. The PU-DMH surface showed excellent bactericidal property against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and could prevent accumulation of bacterial debris on surfaces. Simultaneously, the PU-DMH samples possessed good hemocompatibility and low cytotoxicity. Furthermore, the integrated antifouling and bactericidal properties of PU-DMH under hydrodynamic conditions were confirmed by an in vitro circulating model. The functionalized surface possessed persistent antifouling and bactericidal performances both under static and hydrodynamic conditions. The microbiological and histological results of animal experiments also verified the in vivo anti-infection performance. The present work might find promising clinical applications for preventing catheter-related infection.