Self-assembly of ciprofloxacin and a tripeptide into an antimicrobial nanostructured hydrogel

Silvia Marchesan, Yue Qu, Lynne Waddington, Christopher D Easton, Veronica Glattauer, Trevor James Lithgow, Keith M McLean, John Stanley Forsythe, Patrick Gordon Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


This work reports the self-assembly of a sparingly soluble antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) and a hydrophobic tripeptide ((D)Leu-Phe-Phe) into supramolecular nanostructures that yield a macroscopic hydrogel at physiological pH. Drug incorporation results in modified morphology and rheological properties of the self-assembled hydrogel. These changes can be correlated with intermolecular interactions between the drug and the peptide, as confirmed by spectroscopic analysis (fluorescence, circular dichroism, IR). The drug appears bound within the hydrogel by non-covalent interactions, and retains its activity over a prolonged release timescale. Antimicrobial activity of the ciprofloxacin-peptide self-assembled hydrogel was evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and a clinical strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Interestingly, the peptide hydrogel alone exhibited a mild anti-bacterial activity against Gram-negative bacteria. While toxic to bacteria, no major cytotoxicity was seen in haemolysis assays of human red blood cells or in mouse fibroblast cell cultures. This new approach of drug incorporation into the nanostructure of a simple tripeptide hydrogel by self-assembly may have important applications for cost-effective wound dressings and novel antimicrobial formulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3678 - 3687
Number of pages10
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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