In vitro antimicrobial studies of silver carbene complexes: activity of free and nanoparticle carbene formulations against clinical isolates of pathogenic bacteria. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: Silver carbenes may represent novel, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents that have low toxicity while providing varying chemistry for targeted applications. Here, the bactericidal activity of four silver carbene complexes (SCCs) with different formulations, including nanoparticles (NPs) and micelles, was tested against a panel of clinical strains of bacteria and fungi that are the causative agents of many skin and soft tissue, respiratory, wound, blood, and nosocomial infections. METHODS: MIC, MBC and multidose experiments were conducted against a broad range of bacteria and fungi. Time-release and cytotoxicity studies of the compounds were also carried out. Free SCCs and SCC NPs were tested against a panel of medically important pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia and Klebsiella pneumoniae. RESULTS: All four SCCs demonstrated strong efficacy in concentration ranges of 0.5-90 mg/L. Clinical bacterial isolates with high inherent resistance to purified compounds were more effectively treated either with an NP formulation of these compounds or by repeated dosing. Overall, the compounds were active against highly resistant bacterial strains, such as MRSA and MRAB, and were active against the biodefence pathogens Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. All of the medically important bacterial strains tested play a role in many different infectious diseases. CONCLUSIONS: The four SCCs described here, including their development as NP therapies, show great promise for treating a wide variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens that are not easily killed by routine antimicrobial agents.

published proceedings

  • J Antimicrob Chemother

altmetric score

  • 10.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Leid, J. G., Ditto, A. J., Knapp, A., Shah, P. N., Wright, B. D., Blust, R., ... Cope, E. K.

citation count

  • 121

complete list of authors

  • Leid, Jeff G||Ditto, Andrew J||Knapp, Amanda||Shah, Parth N||Wright, Brian D||Blust, Robyn||Christensen, Lanette||Clemons, CB||Wilber, JP||Young, Gerald W||Kang, Ae Gyeong||Panzner, Matthew J||Cannon, Carolyn L||Yun, Yang H||Youngs, Wiley J||Seckinger, Nicole M||Cope, Emily K

publication date

  • January 2012