In situ synthesis of size-controlled, stable silver nanoparticles within ultrashort peptide hydrogels and their anti-bacterial properties
M.R. Reithofer, A. Lakshmanan, A.T.K. Ping, J.M. Chin and C.A.E. Hauser
Biomaterials, 35 (2014) 7535-7542
We have developed a silver-releasing biomaterial with promising potential for wound healing applications. The material is made of ultrashort peptides which can self-assemble in water to form hydrogels. Silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) were synthesized in situ within the biomaterial, using only UV irradiation and no additional chemical reducing agents. The synthetic strategy allows precise control of the nanoparticle size, with the network of peptide fibers preventing aggregation of Ag NPs. The biomaterial shows increased mechanical strength compared to the hydrogel control. We observed a sustained release of Ag NPs over a period of 14 days. This is a crucial prerequisite for effective anti-bacterial therapy. The ability to inhibit bacterial growth was tested using different bacterial strains, namely gram-negative Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. Inhibition of bacterial growth was observed for all strains. The best results were obtained for Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is known for exhibiting multidrug resistance. Biocompatibility studies on HDFa cells, using Ag NP-containing hydrogels, did not show any significant influence on cell viability. We propose this silverreleasing hydrogel as an excellent biomaterial with great potential for applications in wound healing due to its low silver content, sustained silver nanoparticle release and biocompatibility.
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