Antimicrobial and antioxidant amphiphilic random copolymers to address medical device-centered infections

Vincenzo Taresco, Fernanda Crisante, Iolanda Francolini, Andrea Martinelli, Lucio D'Ilario, Lucia Ricci-Vitiani, Mariachiara Buccarelli, Loris Pietrelli, Antonella Piozzi

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial biofilms are known to support a number of human infections, including those related to medical devices. This work is focused on the development of novel dual-function amphiphilic random copolymers to be employed as coatings for medical devices. Particularly, copolymers were obtained by polymerization of an antimicrobial cationic monomer (bearing tertiary amine) and an antioxidant and antimicrobial hydrophobic monomer (containing hydroxytyrosol, HTy). To obtain copolymers with various amphiphilic balance, different molar ratios of the two monomers were used. 1H NMR and DSC analyses evidenced that HTy aromatic rings are able to interact with each other leading to a supra-macromolecular re-arrangement and decrease the copolymer size in water. All copolymers showed good antioxidant activity and Fe2+ chelating ability. Cytotoxicity and hemolytic tests evidenced that the amphiphilic balance, cationic charge density and polymer size in solution are key determinants for polymer biocompatibility. As for the antimicrobial properties, the lowest minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC = 40 μg/mL) against Staphylococcus epidermidis was shown by the water-soluble copolymer having the highest HTy molar content (0.3). This copolymer layered onto catheter surfaces was also able to prevent staphylococcal adhesion. This approach permits not only prevention of biofilm infections but also reduction of the risk of emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. Indeed, the combination of two active compounds in the same polymer can provide a synergistic action against biofilms and suppress reactive species oxygen (ROS), known to promote the occurrence of antibiotic resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131 - 140
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Taresco, V., Crisante, F., Francolini, I., Martinelli, A., D'Ilario, L., Ricci-Vitiani, L., Buccarelli, M., Pietrelli, L., & Piozzi, A. (2015). Antimicrobial and antioxidant amphiphilic random copolymers to address medical device-centered infections. Acta Biomaterialia, 22, 131 - 140.