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Biomacromolecules

Lipopolysaccharide Neutralization by Cationic-Amphiphilic Polymers through Pseudoaggregate Formation.


PMID 26839947

Abstract

Synthetic polymers incorporating the cationic charge and hydrophobicity to mimic the function of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been developed. These cationic-amphiphilic polymers bind to bacterial membranes that generally contain negatively charged phospholipids and cause membrane disintegration resulting in cell death; however, cationic-amphiphilic antibacterial polymers with endotoxin neutralization properties, to the best of our knowledge, have not been reported. Bacterial endotoxins such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) cause sepsis that is responsible for a great amount of mortality worldwide. These cationic-amphiphilic polymers can also bind to negatively charged and hydrophobic LPS and cause detoxification. Hence, we envisaged that cationic-amphiphilic polymers can have both antibacterial as well as LPS binding properties. Here we report synthetic amphiphilic polymers with both antibacterial as well as endotoxin neutralizing properties. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines in human monocytes caused by LPS stimulation were inhibited by >80% when coincubated with these polymers. These reductions were found to be dependent on concentration and, more importantly, on the side-chain chemical structure due to variations in the hydrophobicity profiles of these polymers. These cationic-amphiphilic polymers bind and cause LPS neutralization and detoxification. Investigations of polymer interaction with LPS using fluorescence spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering (DLS) showed that these polymers bind but neither dissociate nor promote LPS aggregation. We show that polymer binding to LPS leads to sort of a pseudoaggregate formation resulting in LPS neutralization/detoxification. These findings provide an unusual mechanism of LPS neutralization using novel synthetic cationic-amphiphilic polymers.