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A Simultaneously Antimicrobial, Protein-Repellent, and Cell-Compatible Polyzwitterion Network

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journal contribution
posted on 07.03.2017, 00:00 by Monika Kurowska, Alice Eickenscheidt, Diana-Lorena Guevara-Solarte, Vania Tanda Widyaya, Franziska Marx, Ali Al-Ahmad, Karen Lienkamp
A simultaneously anti­microbial, protein-repellent, and cell-compatible surface-attached polymer network is reported, which reduces the growth of bacterial biofilms on surfaces through its multi­function­ality. The coating was made from a poly­(oxo­nor­bornene)-based zwitterion (PZI), which was surface-attached and cross-linked in one step by simultaneous UV-activated CH insertion and thiol–ene reaction. The process was applicable to both laboratory surfaces like silicon, glass, and gold and real-life surfaces like poly­urethane foam wound dressings. The chemical structure and physical properties of the PZI surface and the two reference surfaces SMAMP (“synthetic mimic of an antimicrobial peptide”), an antimicrobial but protein-adhesive polymer coating, and PSB (poly­(sulfobetaine)), a protein-repellent but not antimicrobial polyzwitterion coating were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ellipsometry, contact angle measurements, photoelectron spectroscopy, swellability measurements (using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, SPR), zeta potential measurements, and atomic force microscopy. The time-dependent anti­microbial activity assay (time-kill assay) confirmed the high anti­microbial activity of the PZI; SPR was used to demonstrate that it was also highly protein-repellent. Biofilm formation studies showed that the material effectively reduced the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. Additionally, it was shown that the PZI was highly compatible with immortalized human mucosal gingiva keratin­ocytes and human red blood cells using the Alamar Blue assay, the live–dead stain, and the hemolysis assay. PZI thus may be an attractive coating for biomedical applications, particularly for the fight against bacterial biofilms on medical devices and in other applications.