Melimine-Modified 3D-Printed Polycaprolactone Scaffolds for the Prevention of Biofilm-Related Biomaterial Infections

S. Cometta, R. T. Jones, A. Juárez-Saldivar, B. C. Donose, M. Yasir, N. Bock, T. R. Dargaville, K. Bertling, M. Brünig, A. D. Rakić, M. Willcox and D. W. Hutmacher

ACS Nano 16, 16497 (2022)
Biomaterial-associated infections are one of the major causes of implant failure. These infections result from persistent bacteria that have adhered to the biomaterial surface before, during, or after surgery and have formed a biofilm on the implant’s surface. It is estimated that 4 to 10% of implant surfaces are contaminated with bacteria; however, the infection rate can be as high as 30% in intensive care units in developed countries and as high as 45% in developing countries. To date, there is no clinical solution to prevent implant infection without relying on the use of high doses of antibiotics supplied systemically and/or removal of the infected device. In this study, melimine, a chimeric cationic peptide that has been tested in Phase I and II human clinical trials, was immobilized onto the surface of 3D-printed medical-grade polycaprolactone (mPCL) scaffolds via covalent binding and adsorption. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) spectra of melimine-treated surfaces confirmed immobilization of the peptide, as well as its homogeneous distribution throughout the scaffold surface. Amino acid analysis showed that melimine covalent and noncovalent immobilization resulted in a peptide density of ∼156 and ∼533 ng/cm2, respectively. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the immobilization of melimine on mPCL scaffolds by 1-ethyl-3-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl] carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) coupling and noncovalent interactions resulted in a reduction of Staphylococcus aureus colonization by 78.7% and 76.0%, respectively, in comparison with the nonmodified control specimens. Particularly, the modified surfaces maintained their antibacterial properties for 3 days, which resulted in the inhibition of biofilm formation in vitro. This system offers a biomaterial strategy to effectively prevent biofilm-related infections on implant surfaces without relying on the use of prophylactic antibiotic treatment.