Polymyxin B containing polyion complex (PIC) nanoparticles: Improving the antimicrobial activity by tailoring the degree of polymerisation of the inert component

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  • School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham


Here, we describe the preparation and characterisation of polyion complex (PIC) nanoparticles containing last resort antimicrobial polymyxin B (Pol-B). PIC nanoparticles were prepared with poly(styrene sulphonate) (PSS) as an inert component, across a range of degrees of polymerisation to evaluate the effect that multivalency of this electrolyte has on the stability and antimicrobial activity of these nanoparticles. Our results demonstrate that while nanoparticles prepared with longer polyelectrolytes are more stable under simulated physiological conditions, those prepared with shorter polyelectrolytes have a higher antimicrobial activity. Tailoring the degree of polymerisation and the ratio of the components we have been able to identify a formulation that shows a sustained inhibitory effect on the growth of P. aeruginosa and can reduce the number of viable colonies of this pathogen over 10,000 times more effectively than our previously reported formulation.


Original languageEnglish
Article number9396
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017


  • Antimicrobials, Polymer chemistry