ACS APPLIED BIO MATERIALS, 2022 (ESCI)
Antifungal drug-loaded hyaluronic acid (HA) microgels using conjugation and encapsulation drug-loading techniques were utilized in the treatment of fungal keratitis. Natamycin (NAT) and amphotericin B (AMB) drugs were chemically linked to HA microgels by employing a chemical coupling agent to obtain conjugated (C-) HA:NAT and HA:AMB microgels. Also, these drugs were loaded into the HA microgel network during HA microgel preparation to attain encapsulated (E-) HA:NAT and HA:AMB microgels. The conjugation of drug molecules was confirmed by FT-IR spectra of bare and drug loaded HA microgels. It was determined that the AMB loading amount was about 4-fold higher for E-HA:AMB in comparison to C-HA:AMB microgels. Furthermore, the antifungal activity of drug conjugated and encapsulated HA:NAT and HA:AMB microgels was tested on Fusarium sp. and compared with the effect of bare drug molecules as control for up to 15 days of incubation time by means of the disc diffusion technique. The antifungal activity of 200 mu L at 20 mg/mL concentration of C-HA:NAT and C-HA:AMB microgels was not found to effectively inhibit Fusarium sp. growth after 1 day of incubation, whereas the same concentration of E-HA:NAT and E-HA:AMB microgels totally killed Fusarium sp. for up to 15 days. These E-HA:NAT and E-HA:AMB microgels show no cytotoxicity on the L929 fibroblast cells up to 1000 mu g/ mL concentration, whereas the free drug molecules destroy the cells even at 100 mu g/mL concentration.