Antimicrobial Titanium Surface via Click-Immobilization of Peptide and Its in Vitro/Vivo Activity

The use of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)-functionalized titanium implants is an efficient method for preventing bacterial infection. However, the attachment of AMPs to the surface of titanium implants remains a challenge. In this study, a “clickable” titanium surface was developed by using a silane coupling agent with an alkynyl group. The antimicrobial titanium implant was then constructed through the reaction between the “clickable” surface and azido-AMPs (PEG-HHC36:N3-PEG12-KRWWKWWRR) via click chemistry of Cu­(I)-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC). Such an antimicrobial titanium implant, with an AMP density of 897.4 ± 67.3 ng/cm2 (2.5 ± 0.2 molecules per nm2) on the surface, exhibited good and stable antimicrobial activity, inhibited 90.2% of Staphylococcus aureus and 88.1% of Escherichia coli after 2.5 h of incubation, and even inhibited 69.5% of Staphylococcus aureus after 4 days of degradation. The CCK-8 assay indicated that the antimicrobial titanium implant exhibited negligible cytotoxicity to mouse bone mesenchymal stem cells. In vivo assay illustrated that this implant could kill 78.8% of Staphylococcus aureus after 7 days. This method has great potential for the preparation of antimicrobial titanium implants and the prevention of infections in the clinic.