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Open AccessArticle

Surface-Attached Poly(oxanorbornene) Hydrogels with Antimicrobial and Protein-Repellent Moieties: The Quest for Simultaneous Dual Activity

Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT) and Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Georges-Köhler-Allee 105, 79110 Freiburg, Germany
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Materials 2018, 11(8), 1411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11081411
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials: Surfaces, Interfaces and Bioapplications)
By copolymerizing an amphiphilic oxanorbornene monomer bearing N- tert-butyloxycarbonyl (Boc) protected cationic groups with an oxanorbornene-functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) macromonomer, bifunctional comb copolymers were obtained. Varying the comonomer ratios led to copolymers with PEG contents between 5–25 mol %. These polymers were simultaneously surface-immobilized on benzophenone-bearing substrates and cross-linked with pentaerythritoltetrakis(3-mercapto­propionate). They were then immersed into HCl to remove the Boc groups. The thus obtained surface-attached polymer hydrogels (called SMAMP*-co-PEG) were simultaneously antimicrobial and protein-repellent. Physical characterization data showed that the substrates used were homogeneously covered with the SMAMP*-co-PEG polymer, and that the PEG moieties tended to segregate to the polymer–air interface. Thus, with increasing PEG content, the interface became increasingly hydrophilic and protein-repellent, as demonstrated by a protein adhesion assay. With 25 mol % PEG, near-quantitative protein-adhesion was observed. The antimicrobial activity of the SMAMP*-co-PEG polymers originates from the electrostatic interaction of the cationic groups with the negatively charged cell envelope of the bacteria. However, the SMAMP*-co-PEG surfaces were only fully active against E. coli, while their activity against S. aureus was already compromised by as little as 5 mol % (18.8 mass %) PEG. The long PEG chains seem to prevent the close interaction of bacteria with the surface, and also might reduce the surface charge density. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimicrobial polymer; coatings; hydrogel; protein-repellent polymer; surface-attached polymer network antimicrobial polymer; coatings; hydrogel; protein-repellent polymer; surface-attached polymer network
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Kurowska, M.; Widyaya, V.T.; Al-Ahmad, A.; Lienkamp, K. Surface-Attached Poly(oxanorbornene) Hydrogels with Antimicrobial and Protein-Repellent Moieties: The Quest for Simultaneous Dual Activity. Materials 2018, 11, 1411.

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