Synthesis, characterization, and in vitro activity of antibiotic releasing polyurethanes to prevent bacterial resistance

V. Ruggeri, I. Francolini, G. Donelli, A. Piozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central venous catheters are a major cause of nosocomial bloodstream infections. Different attempts have been made to incorporate antimicrobial agents into catheters, particularly directed at the surface-coating of devices. To facilitate the antimicrobial adsorption, various cationic surfactants, which however showed several problems, have been used. On the other hand, impregnated catheters with only antimicrobials have demonstrated a short-term duration due to the difficulties to deliver the drug slowly. Thus, in order to obtain high antimicrobial-polymer affinity we synthesized or modified polyurethanes to introduce different functional groups. Polymers were loaded with two antibiotics, cefamandole nafate and rifampin (RIP), chosen for both their functional groups and their action spectrum. The in vitro release behavior showed that the elution of drugs depended on the matrix hydrophilicity and on the antibiotic-polymer and antibiotic-antibiotic interactions. To increase the amount of drug released, polyethylene glycol (PEG) used as a pore forming agent at different molecular weights was incorporated in the polymer bulk with antibiotics. As for the in vitro antimicrobial activity of matrices, assessed by Kirby-Bauer test, it was seen that antibiotics released from various formulations inhibited the bacterial growth and exerted a synergistic effect when both were present. In particular, PEG10000-containing polymer was active against the RIF-resistant S. aureus strain up to 23 days. These results suggest that the combined entrapping of antibiotics and pore formers in these novel polymer systems could be promising to prevent the bacterial colonization and to control the emergence of bacterial resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Antibiotic release
  • Biofilm
  • Cefamandole
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Polyurethanes
  • Rifampin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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