Hybrid nanocoatings of self-assembled organic-inorganic amphiphiles for prevention of implant infections

Zhou Ye*, Ting Sang, Kun Li, Nicholas G. Fischer, Isha Mutreja, Constanza Echeverría, Dhiraj Kumar, Zhen Tang*, Conrado Aparicio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Antimicrobial coatings are one of the most promising strategies to prevent bacterial infections in orthopedic and dental implants. Combining antimicrobial agents with different antimicrobial mechanisms might have synergistic effects and be more potent. Others have shown that nanocomposites of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) decorated with antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) show increased potency as free agents in solution. However, similar nanocomposites have not been explored to coat biomaterials through cooperative weak electrostatic attraction forces between AMP, AgNPs and substrates in need of protection against infection. In this work, we synthesized self-assembled antimicrobial amphiphiles of an AMP, GL13K. Then, we decorated the AMP nanostructures with AgNPs, which were finally used to coat etched Ti (eTi) surfaces. The strong hydrogen bonding between the AMP amphiphiles and the polar eTi yielded a robust and stable coating. When compared to single AgNP or single AMP coatings, our hybrid nanocoatings had notably higher in vitro antimicrobial potency against multiple bacteria strains related to implant infection. The hybrid coating also showed relevant antimicrobial activity in an in vivo subcutaneous infection model in rats. This work advances the application of AgNP/AMP nanocomposites as effective coatings for prevention of implant infections. Statement of significance: High morbidity, mortality and elevated costs are associated with orthopedic and dental implant infections. Conventional antibiotic treatment is ineffective due to barrier-like extracellular polymeric substances in biofilms and the increasing threat from antibiotic resistance. Antimicrobial coatings are one of the most promising strategies, but the performance is usually unsatisfactory, especially when tested in vivo. Here, we present a hybrid nanocoating with different modes of action to prevent implant infections using self-assembled antimicrobial peptide (AMP) amphiphiles decorated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). When compared to single AgNP or AMP coatings, our hybrid nanocoatings showed significant increases in antimicrobial potency against multiple implant infection-related bacterial strains in vitro and in an in vivo rat subcutaneous infection model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial coatings
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Hybrid nanostructures
  • Peri-implant infections
  • Silver nanoparticle


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