Antibacterial and hydroxyapatite-forming coating for biomedical implants based on polypeptide-functionalized titania nanospikes†
Titanium (Ti)-based implants often suffer from detrimental bacterial adhesion and inefficient healing, so it is crucial to design a dual-functional coating that prevents bacterial infection and enhances bioactivity for a successful implant. Herein, we successfully devised a cationic polypeptide (Pep)-functionalized biomimetic nanostructure coating with superior activity, which could not only kill pathogenic bacteria rapidly and inhibit biofilm formation for up to two weeks, but also promote in situ hydroxyapatite (HAp) formation. Specifically, a titania (TiO2) nanospike coating (TNC) was fabricated by alkaline hydrothermal treatment firstly, followed by immobilization of rationally synthesized Pep via robust coordinative interactions, named TNPC. This coating was able to effectively kill (>99.9%) both Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, while being non-toxic to murine MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Furthermore, the in vivo infection studies denoted that the adherent bacteria numbers on the TNPC implants were significantly reduced by 6 orders of magnitude than those on the pure Ti implants (p < 0.001). Importantly, in the presence of cationic amino groups and residual Ti-OH groups, substantial HAp deposition on the TNPC surface in Kokubo's simulated body fluid (SBF) occurred after 14 days. Altogether, our results support the clinical potential of this biomimetic dual-functional coating as a new approach with desirable antibacterial properties and HAp-forming ability in orthopedic and dental applications.