Biofilm-associated infections are a major complication of implanted and indwelling medical devices like urological and venous catheters. They commonly persist even in the presence of an oral or intravenous antibiotic regimen, often resulting in chronic illness. We have developed a new approach to inhibiting biofilm growth on synthetic materials through controlled release of salicylic acid from a polymeric coating. Herein we report the synthesis and testing of a ultraviolet-cured polyurethane acrylate polymer composed, in part, of salicyl acrylate, which hydrolyzes upon exposure to aqueous conditions, releasing salicylic acid while leaving the polymer backbone intact. The salicylic acid release rate was tuned by adjusting the polymer composition. Anti-biofilm performance of the coatings was assessed under several biofilm forming conditions using a novel combination of the MBEC Assay™ biofilm multi-peg growth system and bioluminescence monitoring for live cell quantification. Films of the salicylic acid-releasing polymers were found to inhibit biofilm formation, as shown by bioluminescent and GFP reporter strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. Urinary catheters coated on their inner lumens with the salicylic acid-releasing polymer significantly reduced biofilm formation by E. coli for up to 5 days under conditions that simulated physiological urine flow.
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