Acrylic polymer-grafted polypropylene sutures for covalent immobilization or reversible adsorption of vancomycin

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Graphical abstractGlycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and acrylic acid (AAc) were separately grafted onto polypropylene (PP) monofilament sutures by means of pre-irradiation using a 60Co γ-source, with the purpose of loading vancomycin via (i) covalent immobilization through the glycidyl groups of GMA and (ii) ionic interaction with AAc moieties. The effect of absorbed radiation dose, monomer concentration, temperature and reaction time on the grafting degree was evaluated in detail. GMA grafting ranged from 25% to 800% while the grafting yield of AAc onto PP could be tuned between 9% and 454%, at doses from 5 to 50 kGy and a dose rate 13.7 kGy/h. Grafting of GMA or AAc decreased the decomposition temperature and made the sutures swellable to a certain extent. GMA grafting led to a continuous, smooth and thick coating, which was suitable for immobilization of up to 1.9 μg vancomycin per gram. The immobilized vancomycin enabled a reduction in the Staphylococcus aureus CFU adhered to the suture surface. On the other hand, dried AAc-functionalized sutures exhibited a rough and cracked surface which was responsible for a minor increase in the coefficient of friction. PP-g-AAc sutures exhibited pH-dependent swelling and remarkably high capability to host vancomycin (up to 109.9 mg/g), particularly those with an intermediate degree of grafting. Some AAc-functionalized sutures were shown able to inhibit bacterial growth after successive challenges with fresh lawns. Therefore, tuning the yield of grafting of GMA or AAc may enable the preparation of drug-suture combination products that retain or release, respectively, antimicrobial agents.

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