In Vitro and In Vivo Assessment of the Infection Resistance and Biocompatibility of Small-Molecule-Modified Polyurethane Biomaterials

Li Chong Xu, Jennifer L. Booth, Matthew Lanza, Tugba Ozdemir, Amelia Huffer, Chen Chen, Asma Khursheed, Dongxiao Sun, Harry R. Allcock, Christopher A. Siedlecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bacterial intracellular nucleotide second messenger signaling is involved in biofilm formation and regulates biofilm development. Interference with the bacterial nucleotide second messenger signaling provides a novel approach to control biofilm formation and limit microbial infection in medical devices. In this study, we tethered small-molecule derivatives of 4-arylazo-3,5-diamino-1H-pyrazole on polyurethane biomaterial surfaces and measured the biofilm resistance and initial biocompatibility of modified biomaterials in in vitro and in vivo settings. Results showed that small-molecule-modified surfaces significantly reduced the Staphylococcal epidermidis biofilm formation compared to unmodified surfaces and decreased the nucleotide levels of c-di-AMP in biofilm cells, suggesting that the tethered small molecules interfere with intracellular nucleotide signaling and inhibit biofilm formation. The hemocompatibility assay showed that the modified polyurethane films did not induce platelet activation or red blood cell hemolysis but significantly reduced plasma coagulation and platelet adhesion. The cytocompatibility assay with fibroblast cells showed that small-molecule-modified surfaces were noncytotoxic and cells appeared to be proliferating and growing on modified surfaces. In a 7-day subcutaneous infection rat model, the polymer samples were implanted in Wistar rats and inoculated with bacteria or PBS. Results show that modified polyurethane significantly reduced bacteria by ∼2.5 log units over unmodified films, and the modified polymers did not lead to additional irritation/toxicity to the animal tissues. Taken together, the results demonstrated that small molecules tethered on polymer surfaces remain active, and the modified polymers are biocompatible and resistant to microbial infection in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8474-8483
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 21 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science

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