The AAPS Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 132–142 | Cite as

Amino-Terminated Generation 2 Poly(amidoamine) Dendrimer as a Potential Broad-Spectrum, Nonresistance-Inducing Antibacterial Agent

  • Xiaoyan Xue
  • Xiaoqing Chen
  • Xinggang Mao
  • Zheng Hou
  • Ying Zhou
  • Hui Bai
  • Jingru Meng
  • Fei Da
  • Guojun Sang
  • Yukun Wang
  • Xiaoxing Luo
Research Article


The treatment of septicemia caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a great challenge in the clinic. Because traditional antibiotics inevitably induce bacterial resistance, which is responsible for many treatment failures, there is an urgent need to develop novel antibiotic drugs. Amino-terminated Poly(amidoamine) dendrimers (PAMAM-NH2) are reported to have antibacterial activities. However, previous studies focused on high generations of PAMAM-NH2, which have been found to exhibit high toxicities. The present study aimed to clarify whether low generations of PAMAM-NH2 could be used as novel antibacterial agents. We found that generation 2 (G2.0) PAMAM-NH2 showed significant antibacterial effects against antibiotic-sensitive and antibiotic-resistant strains but exhibited little toxicity to human gastric epithelial cells and did not induce antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy analyses suggested that G2.0 PAMAM-NH2 might inhibit the growth of bacteria by destroying their cell membranes. The administration of G2.0 PAMAM-NH2 dose-dependently improved the animal survival rate of mice infected with extended-spectrum beta lactamase-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) and of animals infected with a combination of ESBL-EC and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A treatment regimen of 10 mg/kg of G2.0 PAMAM-NH2 starting 12 h before inoculation followed by 10 mg/kg at 0.5 h after inoculation rescued 100% of singly infected mice and 60% of multiply infected mice. The protective effects were associated with the reduction of the bacterial titers in the blood and with the morphological amelioration of infected tissues. These findings demonstrate that the G2.0 PAMAM-NH2 is a potential broad-spectrum and nonresistance-inducing antibiotic agent with relatively low toxicity.

Key words

antibacterial activity antibiotic resistance extended-spectrum beta lactamase-producing Escherichia coli methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus PAMAM dendrimers 



This research was supported by grants from the National Fund for Natural Science, China (No. 30973666). The authors would like to thank Prof. Liping Zhao (Shang Hai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China) for the bacterial strain E. coli MG1655 and Na Chai, Ph.D., (Xijing Affiliated Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China) for the endothelial cell line.

Disclosure Statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

The animal experiments were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Fourth Military Medical University.

Supplementary material

12248_2012_9416_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 5198 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoyan Xue
    • 1
  • Xiaoqing Chen
    • 1
  • Xinggang Mao
    • 2
  • Zheng Hou
    • 1
  • Ying Zhou
    • 1
  • Hui Bai
    • 1
  • Jingru Meng
    • 1
  • Fei Da
    • 1
  • Guojun Sang
    • 1
  • Yukun Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaoxing Luo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of PharmacyThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Neurosurgery, Xijing HospitalThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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