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Mussel-inspired Silver-releasing Antibacterial Hydrogels.

Dominic E Fullenkamp, J. G. Rivera, Yong-Kuan Gong, K. A. Lau, Lihong He, Rahul Varshney, P. Messersmith
Published 2012 · Medicine, Materials Science

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A silver-releasing antibacterial hydrogel was developed that simultaneously allowed for silver nanoparticle formation and gel curing. Water-soluble polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers were synthesized that contain reactive catechol moieties, inspired by mussel adhesive proteins, where the catechol containing amino acid 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) plays an important role in the ability of the mussel to adhere to almost any surface in an aqueous environment. We utilized silver nitrate to oxidize polymer catechols, leading to covalent cross-linking and hydrogel formation with simultaneous reduction of Ag(I). Silver release was sustained for periods of at least two weeks in PBS solution. Hydrogels were found to inhibit bacterial growth, consistent with the well-known antibacterial properties of silver, while not significantly affecting mammalian cell viability. In addition, thin hydrogel films were found to resist bacterial and mammalian cell attachment, consistent with the antifouling properties of PEG. We believe these materials have a strong potential for antibacterial biomaterial coatings and tissue adhesives, due to the material-independent adhesive properties of catechols.
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