Interfacial Stacks of Polymeric Nanofilms on Soft Biological Surfaces that Release Multiple Agents

Maggie Herron, Michael J. Schurr, Christopher J Murphy, Jonathan F. McAnulty, Charles J. Czuprynski, Nicholas L. Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We report a general and facile method that permits the transfer (stacking) of multiple independently fabricated and nanoscopically thin polymeric films, each containing a distinct bioactive agent, onto soft biomedically relevant surfaces (e.g., collagen-based wound dressings). By using polyelectrolyte multilayer films (PEMs) formed from poly(allyl amine hydrochloride) and poly(acrylic acid) as representative polymeric nanofilms and micrometer-thick water-soluble poly(vinyl alcohol) sacrificial films to stack the PEMs, we demonstrate that it is possible to create stacked polymeric constructs containing multiple bioactive agents (e.g., antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents) on soft and chemically complex surfaces onto which PEMs cannot be routinely transferred by stamping. We illustrate the characteristics and merits of the approach by fabricating stacks of Ga3+ (antibiofilm agent)- and Ag+ (antimicrobial agent)-loaded PEMs as prototypical examples of agent-containing PEMs and demonstrate that the stacked PEMs incorporate precise loadings of the agents and provide flexibility in terms of tuning release rates. Specifically, we show that simultaneous release of Ga3+ and Ag+ from the stacked PEMs on collagen-based wound dressings can lead to synergistic effects on bacteria, killing and dispersing biofilms formed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (two strains: ATCC 27853 and MPAO1) at sufficiently low loadings of agents such that cytotoxic effects on mammalian cells are avoided. The approach is general (a wide range of bioactive agents other than Ga3+ and Ag+ can be incorporated into PEMs), and the modular nature of the approach potentially allows end-user functionalization of soft biological surfaces for programmed release of multiple bioactive agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26541-26551
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 12 2016


  • biofilms
  • biomedical surfaces
  • interfacial constructs
  • multiple bioactive agents
  • soft biological interfaces
  • stacking of polymeric nanofilms
  • synergistic effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Interfacial Stacks of Polymeric Nanofilms on Soft Biological Surfaces that Release Multiple Agents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this