Antibiotic-Impregnated Liquid-Infused Coatings Suppress the Formation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms
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Medical device-associated infections are an ongoing problem. Once an implant is infected, bacteria create a complex community on the surface known as a biofilm, protecting the bacterial cells against antibiotics and the immune system. To prevent biofilm formation, several coatings have been engineered to hinder bacterial adhesion or viability. In recent years, liquid-infused surfaces (LISs) have been shown to be effective in repelling bacteria due to the presence of a tethered liquid interface. However, local lubricant loss or temporary local displacement can lead to bacteria penetrating the lubrication layer, which can then attach to the surface, proliferate, and form a biofilm. Biofilm formation on biomedical devices can subsequently disrupt the chemistry tethering the slippery liquid interface, causing the LIS coating to fail completely. To address this concern, we developed a "fail-proof" multifunctional coating through the combination of a LIS with tethered antibiotics. The coatings were tested on a medical-grade stainless steel using contact angle, sliding angle, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The results confirm the presence of antibiotics while maintaining a stable and slippery liquid interface. The antibiotic liquid-infused surface significantly reduced biofilm formation (97% reduction compared to the control) and was tested against two strains of Staphylococcus aureus, including a methicillin-resistant strain. We also demonstrated that antibiotics remain active and reduce bacteria proliferation after subsequent coating modifications. This multifunctional approach can be applied to other biomaterials and provide not only a fail-safe but a fail-proof strategy for preventing bacteria-associated infections.
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