In hospitals and clinics worldwide, medical device surfaces have become a rapidly growing source of nosocomial infections. Almost immediately after adhering to a device surface, bacteria can begin to form a biofilm, which makes the infection especially difficult to treat and often necessitates device removal. Adding to the severity of this problem is the spread of bacterial genetic tolerance to antibiotics, in part demonstrated by the recent and significant increase in the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Nanomaterials are beginning to be used for a wide variety of biomedical applications due to their unique surface properties which have the ability to control initial protein adsorption and subsequent cell behavior. This “nanoroughness” gives nanomaterials a greater functional surface area than conventional materials, which do not have significant features on the nanoscale. In addition, it is theorized that nanoparticles may also have general mechanisms of toxicity towards bacteria that do not cause problems for mammalian cells.
The objective of the present in vitro study was to develop a nanocomposite material by embedding conventional polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with zinc oxide nanoparticles through a simple and inexpensive procedure. The effect of different nanoparticle sizes and %wts were investigated. Results demonstrated that this technique significantly decreased S. aureus density and biofilm formation without the incorporation of antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals, as well as increased the adhesion of human fibroblast cells. Thus, this material could have much promise for use in the manufacture of common implanted medical devices.