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Mussel-Inspired Multifunctional Hydrogel Coating for Prevention of Infections and Enhanced Osteogenesis


Prevention of postsurgery infection and promotion of biointegration are the key factors to achieve long-term success in orthopedic implants. Localized delivery of antibiotics and bioactive molecules by the implant surface serves as a promising approach toward these goals. However, previously reported methods for surface functionalization of the titanium alloy implants to load bioactive ingredients suffer from time-consuming complex processes and lack of long-term stability. Here, we present the design and characterization of an adhesive, osteoconductive, and antimicrobial hydrogel coating for Ti implants. To form this multifunctional hydrogel, a photo-cross-linkable gelatin-based hydrogel was modified with catechol motifs to enhance adhesion to Ti surfaces and thus promote coating stability. To induce antimicrobial and osteoconductive properties, a short cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP) and synthetic silicate nanoparticles (SNs) were introduced into the hydrogel formulation. The controlled release of AMP loaded in the hydrogel demonstrated excellent antimicrobial activity to prevent biofilm formation. Moreover, the addition of SNs to the hydrogel formulation enhanced osteogenesis when cultured with human mesenchymal stem cells, suggesting the potential to promote new bone formation in the surrounding tissues. Considering the unique features of our implant hydrogel coating, including high adhesion, antimicrobial capability, and the ability to induce osteogenesis, it is believed that our design provides a useful alternative method for bone implant surface modification and functionalization.

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