A Thermosensitive, Chitosan-Based Hydrogel as Delivery System for Antibacterial Liposomes to Surgical Site Infections

Laurine Kaul, Clara E. Grundmann, Monika Köll-Weber, Hanna Löffler, Artur Weiz, Andrew C.W. Zannettino, Katharina Richter, Regine Süss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Prophylaxis and the treatment of surgical site infections (SSIs) with antibiotics frequently fail due to the antibiotic resistance of bacteria and the ability of bacteria to reside in biofilms (i.e., bacterial clusters in a protective matrix). Therefore, alternative antibacterial treatments are required to combat biofilm infections. The combination of diethyldithiocarbamate (DDC) and copper ions (Cu2+) exhibited antibiofilm activity against the staphylococci species associated with SSIs; however, the formation of a water-insoluble Cu(DDC)2 complex limits its application to SSIs. Here, we describe the development and antibiofilm activity of an injectable gel containing a liposomal formulation of Cu(DDC)2 and Cu2+ (lipogel). Lyophilized liposomes were incorporated into a mixture of chitosan (CS) and beta-glycerophosphate (βGP), and the thermosensitive gelling properties of CS-βGP and the lipogel were determined. The liposomes remained stable after lyophilization over six months at 4–6 °C and −20 °C. The sol-gel transition of the gel and lipogel occurred between 33 and 39 °C, independently of sterilization or storage at −20 °C. CS-βGP is biocompatible and the liposomes were released over time. The lipogel prevented biofilm formation over 2 days and killed 98.7% of the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 99.9% of the Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. Therefore, the lipogel is a promising new prophylaxis and treatment strategy for local application to SSIs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2841
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2022


  • beta-glycerophosphate
  • biofilms
  • chitosan
  • copper ions
  • diethyldithiocarbamate
  • drug delivery
  • liposomes
  • surgical site infections
  • thermosensitive gel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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