Antibacterial Activities of Poly(amidoamine) Dendrimers Terminated with Amino and Poly(ethylene glycol) Groups

Michelle Calabretta, Amit Kumar, Alison McDermott, Chengzhi Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


Poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimer derivatives have been investigated for their biological applications, especially for delivery of drugs, including antimicrobial drugs to eukaryotic cells, but their effects on bacterial cells are largely unexplored. Herein we report that amino-terminated PAMAM dendrimers are highly toxic to the common Gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The concentration that kills 50% of the bacteria (EC50) was in the range of ∼0.9−1.5 μg/mL for the generation 5, amino-terminated dendrimers with or without partial (43%) coating of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). These EC50 values were lower than that (∼1.9−2.8 μg/mL) for LL-37, a potent antimicrobial peptide expressed in a variety of epithelia. On the contrary, the dendrimers were far less toxic (EC50 > 21 μg/mL) to the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus than LL-37 (EC50 = ∼1.9 μg/mL). In agreement with the previous studies on other cell types, the dendrimers were not cytotoxic to human corneal epithelial cells at the concentrations that were toxic to P. aeruginosa. Our findings indicate that amino-terminated PAMAM dendrimers and their partially PEG-coated derivatives possess attractive antimicrobial properties, particularly against Gram-negative bacteria, thus expanding the potential biological application of the dendrimers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1807-1811
Issue number6
Early online date19 May 2007
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


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