Polyphosphazenes enable durable, hemocompatible, highly efficient antibacterial coatings. Academic Article uri icon


  • Biocompatible antibacterial coatings are highly desirable to prevent bacterial colonization on a wide range of medical devices from hip implants to skin grafts. Traditional polyelectrolytes are unable to directly form coatings with cationic antibiotics at neutral pH and suffer from high degrees of antibiotic release upon exposure to physiological concentrations of salt. Here, novel inorganic-organic hybrid polymer coatings based on direct layer-by-layer assembly of anionic polyphosphazenes (PPzs) of various degrees of fluorination with cationic antibiotics (polymyxin B, colistin, gentamicin, and neomycin) are reported. The coatings displayed low levels of antibiotic release upon exposure to salt and pH-triggered response of controlled doses of antibiotics. Importantly, coatings remained highly surface active against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, even after 30 days of pre-exposure to physiological conditions (bacteria-free) or after repeated bacterial challenge. Moreover, coatings displayed low (<1%) hemolytic activity for both rabbit and porcine blood. Coatings deposited on either hard (Si wafers) or soft (electrospun fiber matrices) materials were non-toxic towards fibroblasts (NIH/3T3) and displayed controllable fibroblast adhesion via PPz fluorination degree. Finally, coatings showed excellent antibacterial activity in ex vivo pig skin studies. Taken together, these results suggest a new avenue to form highly tunable, biocompatible polymer coatings for medical device surfaces.

published proceedings

  • Biomaterials

author list (cited authors)

  • Albright, V., Penarete-Acosta, D., Stack, M., Zheng, J., Marin, A., Hlushko, H., ... Sukhishvili, S. A.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Albright, Victoria||Penarete-Acosta, Daniel||Stack, Mary||Zheng, Jeremy||Marin, Alexander||Hlushko, Hanna||Wang, Hongjun||Jayaraman, Arul||Andrianov, Alexander K||Sukhishvili, Svetlana A

publication date

  • January 2021