from Chindera K, Mahato M, Sharma AK, Horsley H, Kloc-Muniak K, Kamaruzzaman NF, Kumar S, McFarlane A, Stach J, Bentin T, Good L 2016
published in Sci Rep 6: 23121
DOI 10.1038/srep23121

The antimicrobial polymer PHMB enters cells and selectively condenses bacterial chromosomes.

Next to membrane disruption, PHMB binds to bacterial but not mammalian DNA and causes DNA condensation and cell death.

For polyhexanide (PHMB), the accepted mode of action is membrane disruption. Additionally, PHMB was found to enter bacterial cells and bind to DNA, which ultimately caused cell death. In mammalian cells, PHMB does not reach the DNA. Due to the special mode of action, a bacterial resistance against PHMB is unlikely.

PubMed link