Infection-responsive drug delivery from urinary biomaterials controlled by a novel kinetic and thermodynamic approach

Nicola J. Irwin, Colin P. McCoy, David S. Jones, Sean P. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. The pH-dependent physicochemical properties of the antimicrobial quinolone, nalidixic acid, were exploited to achieve ‘intelligent’ drug release from a potential urinary catheter coating, poly(2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) (p(HEMA)), in direct response to the elevated pH which occurs at the onset of catheter infection.
Methods. p(HEMA) hydrogels, and reduced-hydrophilicity copolymers incorporating methyl methacrylate, were loaded with nalidixic acid by a novel, surface particulate localization method, and characterized in terms of pH-dependent drug release and microbiological activity against the common urease-producing urinary pathogen Proteus mirabilis.
Results. The pH-dependent release kinetics of surface-localized nalidixic acid were 50- and 10-fold faster at pH 9, representing the alkaline conditions induced by urease-producing urinary pathogens, compared to release at pH 5 and pH 7 respectively. Furthermore, microbiological activity against P. mirabilis was significantly enhanced after loading surface particulate nalidixic acid in comparison to p(HEMA) hydrogels conventionally loaded with dispersed drug. The more hydrophobic methyl methacrylate-containing copolymers also demonstrated this pH responsive behavior, but additionally exhibited a sustained period of zero-order release.
Conclusions. The paradigm presented here provides a system with latent, immediate infection-responsive drug release followed by prolonged zero-order antimicrobial delivery, and represents an ‘intelligent’, infection-responsive, self-sterilizing biomaterial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-865
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number3
Early online date15 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • anti-infective, nalidixic acid, pH-responsive, solubility, urinary catheter


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