Bacterial Resistance Control on Mineral Surfaces of Hydroxyapatite and Human Teeth via Surface Charge-Driven Antifouling Coatings

This works reports a set of new functionalized polyethyleneimine (PEI) polymers, including a neutral PEGylated polymer PEI-<i>g</i>-PEGMA, a negatively charged polymer PEI-<i>g</i>-SA, and a zwitterionic polymer PEI-<i>g</i>-SBMA, and their use as antibiofouling coating agent for human teeth protection. Polymers were synthesized by Michael addition, XPS analysis revealed that each polymer could be efficiently coated onto hydroxyapatite, ceramic material used as a model tooth. Polymers carrying a negative net charge were more efficiently adsorbed, because of the establishment of electrostatic interactions with calcium ions. Protein adsorption tests revealed that two factors were important in the reduction of protein adsorption. Both the surface charge and the surface ability to bind and entrap water molecules had to be considered. PEI-<i>g</i>-SBMA, which zeta potential in PBS solution was negative, was efficient to inhibit the adsorption of BSA, a negative protein. On the other hand, it also resisted the adsorption of lysozyme, a positive protein, because zwitterionic molecules can easily entrap water and provide a very hydrophilic environment. <i>Streptococcus mutans</i> attachment tests performed unveiled that all modified polymers were efficient to resist this type of bacteria responsible for dental carries. Best results were also obtained with PEI-<i>g</i>-SBMA coating. This polymer was also shown to efficiently resist the adsorption of positively charged bacteria (<i>Stenotrophomonas maltophilia</i>). Tests performed on real human tooth showed that PEI-<i>g</i>-SBMA could inhibit up to 70% of bacteria adhesion, which constitutes a major result considering that surface of teeth is very rough, therefore physically promoting the attachment of proteins and bacteria.