Novel surface-modified hydrogel materials have been prepared by binding charged porphyrins TMPyP (tetrakis-(4-N-methylpyridyl)porphyrin) and TPPS (tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin) to copolymers of HEMA (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) with either MAA (methacrylic acid) or DEAEMA (2-(diethylamino)ethylmethacrylate). The charged hydrogels display strong electrostatic interactions with the appropriate cationic or anionic porphyrins to give materials which are intended to be used to generate cytotoxic singlet oxygen
(1O2) on photoexcitation and can therefore be used to reduce postoperative infection of the intraocular hydrogel-based replacement lenses that are used in cataract surgery. The UV/vis spectra of TMPyP in MAA:HEMA copolymers showed a small shift in the Soret band and a change from single exponential (161 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs) triplet decay lifetime in solution to a decay that could be fitted to a biexponential fit with two approximately equal components with Ã?ï¿½Ã?Â´ ) 350 and 1300 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs. O2 bubbling reduced the decay to a dominant (90%) component with a much reduced lifetime of 3 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs and a minor, longer lived (20 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs) component. With D2O solvent the 1O2 lifetime was measured by 1270 nm fluorescence as 35 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs in MAA:HEMA, compared to 67 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âs in solution,
although absorbance-matched samples showed similar yield of 1O2 in the polymers and in aqueous solution. In contrast to the minor perturbation in photophysical properties caused by binding TMPyP to MAA:HEMA,
TPPS binding to DEAEMA:HEMA copolymers profoundly changed the 1O2 generating ability of the TPPS. In N2-bubbled samples, the polymer-bound TPPS behaved in a similar manner to TMPyP in its copolymer host; however, O2 bubbling had only a very small effect on the triplet lifetime and no 1O2 generation could be detected. The difference in behavior may be linked to differences in binding in the two systems. With TMPyP in MAA:HEMA, confocal fluorescence microscopy showed significant penetration of the porphyrin into the core of the polymer film samples (>150 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âm). However, for TPPS in DEAEMA:HEMA copolymers, although the porphyrin bound much more readily to the polymer, it remained localized in the first 20 Ã?ï¿½Ã?Âm, even in heavily loaded samples. It is possible that the resulting high concentration of TPPS may have cross-linked the hydrogels to such an extent that it significantly reduced the solubility and/or diffusion rate of oxygen into the doped polymers. This effect is significant since it demonstrates that even
simple electrostatic binding of charged porphyrins to hydrogels can have an unexpectedly large effect on the properties of the system as a whole. In this case it makes the apparently promising TPPS/DEAEMA:HEMA system a poor candidate for clinical application as a postoperative antibacterial treatment for intraocular lenses while the apparently equivalent cationic system TMPyP/MAA:HEMA displays all the required properties.