Sonodynamic inactivation of Gram-positive and Gram-negativebacteria using a Rose Bengal–antimicrobial peptide conjugate

David Costley, Heather Nesbitt, Nigel Ternan, James Dooley, Ying-Ying Huang, Michale R Hamblin, Anthony P McHale, John F Callan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
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Combating antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious public health challenges facing society today.The development of new antibiotics or alternative techniques that can help combat antimicrobial resistance is being prioritised by many governments and stakeholders across the globe. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy is one such technique that has received considerable attention but is limited by the inability of light to penetrate through human tissue, reducing its effectiveness when used to treat deep-seated infections. The related technique sonodynamic therapy (SDT) has the potential to overcome this limitation given the ability of low-intensity ultrasound to penetrate human tissue. In this study,a Rose Bengal–antimicrobial peptide conjugate was prepared for use in antimicrobial SDT (ASDT). When Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa planktonic cultures were treated with the conjugate and subsequently exposed to ultrasound, 5 log and 7 log reductions, respectively, in bacterial numbers were observed. The conjugate also displayed improved uptake by bacterial cells compared with a mammalian cell line (P ≤ 0.01), whilst pre-treatment of a P. aeruginosa biofilm with ultrasound resulted in a 2.6-fold improvement in sensitiser diffusion (P ≤ 0.01). A preliminary in vivo experiment involving ASDT treatment of P. aeruginosa-infected wounds in mice demonstrated that ultrasound irradiation of conjugate treated wounds affects a substantial reduction in bacterial burden. Combined, the results obtained from this study highlight ASDT as a targeted broad-spectrum novel modality with potential for the treatment of deep-seated bacterial infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number1
Early online date17 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2017


  • Sonodynamic therapy
  • Antimicrobial
  • Sensitiser
  • Peptide


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