Interplay between Immune and Bacterial Cells on a Biomimetic Nanostructured Surface: A “Race for the Surface” Study

Richard Bright, Andrew Hayles, Jonathan Wood, Dennis Palms, Dan Barker, Krasimir Vasilev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Biomaterial-associated infection is an ever-increasing risk with devasting consequences for patients. Considerable research has been undertaken to address this issue by imparting antibacterial properties to the surface of biomedical implants. One approach that generated much interest over recent years was the generation of bioinspired bactericidal nanostructures. In the present report, we have investigated the interplay between macrophages and bacteria on antibacterial nanostructured surfaces to determine the outcome of the so-called “race for the surface”. Our results showed that macrophages can indeed outcompete Staphylococcus aureus via multiple mechanisms. The early generation of reactive oxygen species by macrophages, downregulation of bacterial virulence gene expression, and the bactericidal nature of the nanostructured surface itself collectively acted to help the macrophage to win the race. This study highlights the potential of nanostructured surfaces to reduce infection rates and improve the long-term success of biomedical implants. This work can also serve as guidance to others to investigate in vitro host-bacteria interactions on other candidate antibacterial surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3472-3483
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number9
Early online date29 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


  • antibacterial
  • biocompatible
  • bioinspired
  • competitive colonization
  • gene expression
  • macrophage


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