Amphiphilic Dendrimer as Potent Antibacterial against Drug-Resistant Bacteria in Mouse Models of Human Infectious Diseases

Noah King, Dinesh Dhumal, Shi Qian Lew, Shanny Hsuan Kuo, Christina Galanakou, Myung Whan Oh, Sook Yin Chong, Nian Zhang, Leo Tsz On Lee, Zvi Hayouka, Ling Peng*, Gee W. Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modern medicine continues to struggle against antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. Among the pathogens of critical concerns are the multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These pathogens are major causes of nosocomial infections among immunocompromised individuals, involving major organs such as lung, skin, spleen, kidney, liver, and bloodstream. Therefore, novel approaches are direly needed. Recently, we developed an amphiphilic dendrimer DDC18-8A exhibiting high antibacterial and antibiofilm efficacy in vitro. DDC18-8A is composed of a long hydrophobic alkyl chain and a small hydrophilic poly(amidoamine) dendron bearing amine terminals, exerting its antibacterial activity by attaching and inserting itself into bacterial membranes to trigger cell lysis. Here, we examined the pharmacokinetics and in vivo toxicity as well as the antibacterial efficacy of DDC18-8A in mouse models of human infectious diseases. Remarkably, DDC18-8A significantly reduced the bacterial burden in mouse models of acute pneumonia and bacteremia by P. aeruginosa, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae and neutropenic soft tissue infection by P. aeruginosa and MRSA. Most importantly, DDC18-8A outperformed pathogen-specific antibiotics against all three pathogens by achieving a similar bacterial clearance at 10-fold lower therapeutic concentrations. In addition, it showed superior stability and biodistribution in vivo, with excellent safety profiles yet without any observable abnormalities in histopathological analysis of major organs, blood serum biochemistry, and hematology. Collectively, we provide strong evidence that DDC18-8A is a promising alternative to the currently prescribed antibiotics in addressing challenges associated with nosocomial infections by MDR pathogens.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)453-466
Number of pages14
JournalACS Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 9 Feb 2024

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© 2024 American Chemical Society.


  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • amphiphilic dendrimer
  • in vivo efficacy


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