NYMC Faculty Publications

Photo-Initiated Enhanced Antibacterial Therapy Using a Non-Covalent Functionalized Graphene Oxide Nanoplatform

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Dalton Transactions

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Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology


This study describes a novel antibacterial phototherapeutic platform for highly efficient healing of bacteria-infected wounds. It is based on the photodynamic and physical actions of a zinc tetraaminophthalocyanine-modified graphene oxide nanocomposite produced via non-covalent functionalization. The nanocomposite is positively charged and can easily capture negatively charged bacteria via electrostatic interactions. The antibacterial action is two-fold: (1) reactive oxygen species are produced by the phthalocyanine photosensitizer after short-term exposure to 680 nm light and (2) the graphene oxide can physically cut bacterial cell membranes. These enhanced activities can kill Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria at very low dosages. An ultrastructural examination indicates that this nanocomposite causes enormous damage to bacterial morphology and leakage of intracellular substances that lead to bacterial death. A rat wound model is used to demonstrate that the proposed phototherapeutic platform has low cytotoxicity and can promote rapid healing in bacteria-infected wounds. These results suggest that the integration of different antibacterial methods into a single nanotherapeutic platform is a promising strategy for anti-infective treatment.