Staphylococcus aureus adhesion to titanium oxide surfaces coated with non-functionalized and peptide-functionalized poly(L-lysine)-grafted-poly(ethylene glycol) copolymers

Biomaterials. 2004 Aug;25(18):4135-48. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2003.11.033.


Implanted biomaterials are coated immediately with host plasma constituents, including extracellular matrix (ECM); this reaction may be undesirable in some cases. Poly(L-lysine)-grafted-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLL-g-PEG) has been shown to spontaneously adsorb from aqueous solution onto metal oxide surfaces, effectively reducing the degree of non-specific adsorption of blood and ECM proteins, and decreasing the adhesion of fibroblastic and osteoblastic cells to the coated surfaces. Cell adhesion through specific peptide-integrin receptors could be restored on surfaces coated with PLL-g-PEG functionalized with peptides of the RGD (Arg-Asp-Gly) type. To date, no study has examined the effect of surface modifications by PLL-g-PEG-based polymers on bacterial adhesion. The ability of Staphylococcus aureus to adhere to the ECM and plasma proteins deposited on biomaterials is a significant factor in the pathogenesis of medical-device-related infections. This study describes methods for visualizing and quantifying the adhesion of S. aureus to smooth and rough (chemically etched) titanium surfaces without and with monomolecular coatings of PLL-g-PEG, PLL-g-PEG/PEG-RGD and PLL-g-PEG/PEG-RDG. The different surfaces were exposed to S. aureus cultures for 1-24h and bacteria surface density was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. Coating titanium surfaces with any of the three types of copolymers significantly decreased the adhesion of S. aureus to the surfaces by 89-93% for PLL-g-PEG, and 69% for PLL-g-PEG/PEG-RGD. Therefore, surfaces coated with PLL-g-PEG/PEG-RGD have the ability to attach cells such as fibroblasts and osteoblasts while showing reduced S. aureus adhesion, resulting in a selective biointeraction pattern that may be useful for applications in the area of osteosynthesis, orthopaedic and dental implantology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry*
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / cytology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Surface Properties


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Oligopeptides
  • arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid