Various silver-coated implants have been developed to prevent implant-associated infections, and have shown dramatic effects in vitro. However, the in vivo results have been inconsistent. Recent in vitro studies showed that silver exerts antibacterial activity by mediating the generation of reactive oxygen species in the presence of oxygen. To maintain its antibacterial activity in vivo, the silver should remain in an ionic state and be stably bound to the implant surface. Here, we developed a novel bacteria-resistant hydroxyapatite film in which ionic silver is immobilized via inositol hexaphosphate chelation using a low-heat immersion process. This bacteria-resistant coating demonstrated significant antibacterial activity both in vitro and in vivo. In a murine bioluminescent osteomyelitis model, no bacteria were detectable 21 days after inoculation with S. aureus and placement of this implant. Serum interleukin-6 was elevated in the acute phase in this model, but it was significantly lower in the ionic-silver group than the control group on day 2. Serum C-reactive protein remained significantly higher in the control group than the ionic-silver group on day 14. Because this coating is produced by a low-heat immersion process, it can be applied to complex structures of various materials, to provide significant protection against implant-associated infections.
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