Anhydrous polymers are actively explored as alternative materials to overcome limitations of conventional hydrogel-based antibacterial coating. However, the requirement for strong organic solvent in polymerization reactions often necessitates extra protection steps for encapsulation of target biomolecules, lowering encapsulation efficiency, and increasing process complexity. This study reports a novel coating strategy that allows direct solvation and encapsulation of antimicrobial peptides (HHC36) into anhydrous polycaprolactone (PCL) polymer-based dual layer coating. A thin 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) film is layered onto the peptide-impregnated PCL as a diffusion barrier, to modulate and enhance release kinetics. The impregnated peptides are eventually released in a controlled fashion. The use of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE), as polymerization and solvation medium, induces the impregnated peptides to adopt highly stable turned conformation, conserving peptide integrity, and functionality during both encapsulation and subsequent release processes. The dual layer coating showed sustained antibacterial functionality, lasting for 14 days. In vivo assessment using an experimental mouse wounding model demonstrated good biocompatibility and significant antimicrobial efficacy of the coating under physiological conditions. The coating was translated onto silicone urinary catheters and showed promising antibacterial efficacy, even outperforming commercial silver-based Dover cather. This anhydrous polymer-based platform holds immense potential as an effective antibacterial coating to prevent clinical device-associated infections. The simplicity of the coating process enhances its industrial viability.
Keywords: anhydrous polymer coating; antimicrobial peptides; controlled release; trifluoroethanol solvent; urinary catheter.
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