Cationic steroid antimicrobials (CSAs or ceragenins) are a novel class of synthetic, cholic acid-based mimics of endogenous antimicrobial peptides. These small molecule compounds display broad bactericidal activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, potent ability against fungal pathogens, and cidal effects against drug resistant and multidrug resistant microbes. Implantable medical devices provide an abiotic surface upon which bacteria and fungi can accumulate--thereby leading to localized or systemic infection. We proposed that CSA antibiotics can be incorporated into medical device surface coatings which can be optimized for the active release or elution of the CSA compounds over time to prevent device-associated infections. This report will discuss the progress of developing and testing coating systems for 3 such devices: cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIED), silicone nasal splints, and breast tissue expanders. In the case of CIEDs, an envelope material containing CSA was created using bioresorbable polymers. We found that this envelope elutes CSA antibiotics and kills all surrounding bacteria or fungi in both planktonic and biofilm forms within 1 hour of exposure. We also developed a nasal splint coating which is directly adhered to the surface of the silicone splint. This coating system demonstrated more than 8 days of protective ability (full microbicidal activity to the detection limit) against Candida albicans, and reduced microbial growth of P. aeruginosa, Candida auris, and MRSA for approximately 6 days. Lastly, in the case of tissue expanders, we developed a layered coating which displays fully-reductive antimicrobial activity against MRSA for 8 days with reintroduction of bacteria every 24 hours. Additionally, this work will discuss our investigations into the secondary properties of ceragenin compounds. On the basis of studies which have demonstrated the pro-osteogenic properties of CSA, we probed the mechanism of this effect. We studied the potential effects of ceragenins on the proliferation, differentiation, and migration of bone-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We have determined the absence of any positive proliferative effects of ceragenins on these cells; however, we have demonstrated the significant migration-promoting chemoattractant properties of CSA. In the case of CSA-13, we have observed up to a 400% increase in migration compared to the control. Also, we demonstrated that the P2X7 receptor is strongly implicated in the cellular mechanism of this effect. Our studies of the differentiation-promoting properties of CSA on MSCs have been largely inconclusive, but further investigations are proposed in this report. Lastly, this work includes a report on our investigations into the potential synergistic interactions between CSA-131/CSA-44 with amphotericin B or caspofungin, two commonly used antifungal agents.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



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cationic steroid antimicrobials, ceragenins, medical device coatings, pro-osteogenic properties, and multidrug-resistant microbes