Potential application of protamine for antimicrobial biomaterials in bone tissue engineering

Michiyo Honda, Morio Matsumoto, Mamoru Aizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial infection of biomaterials is a serious problem in the field of medical devices. It is urgently necessary to develop new biomaterials with bactericidal activity. Antimicrobial peptides and proteins (AMPs), alternative antibacterial agents, are expected to overcome the bacterial resistance. The aim of this study was to develop a new intelligent material in bone tissue engineering based on protamine-loaded hydroxyapatite (protamine/HAp) that uses AMPs rather than antibiotics. It was found that the adsorption of protamine to HAp followed the Langmuir adsorption model and was due to electrostatic and/or hydrophobic interactions. In vitro bacterial adhesion and growth on protamine/HAp was inhibited in a protamine dose-dependent manner. Adherent bacteria exhibited an aberrant morphology for high dosages of protamine/HAp, resulting in the formation of large aggregates and disintegration of the membrane. The released protamine from protamine/HAp also prevented the growth of planktonic bacteria in vitro. However, a high dosage of protamine from powders at loading concentrations over 1000 μg·mL−1 induced a cytotoxic effect in vitro, although those exhibited no apparent cytotoxicity in vivo. These data revealed that protamine/HAp (less than 1000 μg·mL−1) had both antimicrobial activity and biocompatibility and can be applied for bone substitutes in orthopedic fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4368
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Biofilm formation
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Implant-related infection
  • Protamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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