In vivo evaluation of temperature-responsive antimicrobial-loaded PNIPAAm hydrogels for prevention of surgical site infection

John M. Heffernan, Derek J. Overstreet, Brent L. Vernon, Ryan Y. McLemore, Tamas Nagy, Rex C. Moore, Vajra S. Badha, Erin P. Childers, Michael B. Nguyen, Daniel D. Gentry, Francis M. Calara, W. Brian Saunders, Tim Feltis, Alex C. McLaren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a persistent clinical challenge. Local antimicrobial delivery may reduce the risk of SSI by increasing drug concentrations and distribution in vulnerable surgical sites compared to what is achieved using systemic antimicrobial prophylaxis alone. In this work, we describe a comprehensive in vivo evaluation of the safety and efficacy of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-dimethylbutyrolactone acrylamide-co-Jeffamine M-1000 acrylamide) [PNDJ], an injectable temperature-responsive hydrogel carrier for antimicrobial delivery in surgical sites. Biodistribution data indicate that PNDJ is primarily cleared via the liver and kidneys following drug delivery. Antimicrobial-loaded PNDJ was generally well-tolerated locally and systemically when applied in bone, muscle, articulating joints, and intraperitoneal space, although mild renal toxicity consistent with the released antimicrobials was identified at high doses in rats. Dosing of PNDJ at bone-implant interfaces did not affect normal tissue healing and function of orthopedic implants in a transcortical plug model in rabbits and in canine total hip arthroplasty. Finally, PNDJ was effective at preventing recurrence of implant-associated MSSA and MRSA osteomyelitis in rabbits, showing a trend toward outperforming commercially available antimicrobial-loaded bone cement and systemic antimicrobial administration. These studies indicate that antimicrobial-loaded PNDJ hydrogels are well-tolerated and could reduce incidence of SSI in a variety of surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • NIPAAm polymers
  • hydrogel biocompatibility
  • local antimicrobial delivery
  • surgical site infection
  • sustained release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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