Polyhexamethylene Biguanide: Polyurethane Blend Nanofibrous Membranes for Wound Infection Control

Worsley, A and Vassileva, K and Tsui, J and Song, W and Good, L (2019) Polyhexamethylene Biguanide: Polyurethane Blend Nanofibrous Membranes for Wound Infection Control. Polymers, 11 (5). p. 915.

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Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) is a broad-spectrum antiseptic which avoids many efficacy and toxicity problems associated with antimicrobials, in particular, it has a low risk of loss of susceptibility due to acquired antimicrobial resistance. Despite such advantages, PHMB is not widely used in wound care, suggesting more research is required to take full advantage of PHMB’s properties. We hypothesised that a nanofibre morphology would provide a gradual release of PHMB, prolonging the antimicrobial effects within the therapeutic window. PHMB:polyurethane (PU) electrospun nanofibre membranes were prepared with increasing PHMB concentrations, and the effects on antimicrobial activities, mechanical properties and host cell toxicity were compared. Overall, PHMB:PU membranes displayed a burst release of PHMB during the first hour following PBS immersion (50.5–95.9% of total released), followed by a gradual release over 120 h (≤25 wt % PHMB). The membranes were hydrophilic (83.7–53.3°), gradually gaining hydrophobicity as PHMB was released. They displayed superior antimicrobial activity, which extended past the initial release period, retained PU hyperelasticity regardless of PHMB concentration (collective tensile modulus of 5–35% PHMB:PU membranes, 3.56 ± 0.97 MPa; ultimate strain, >200%) and displayed minimal human cell toxicity (<25 wt % PHMB). With further development, PHMB:PU electrospun membranes may provide improved wound dressings.