Covalent Attachment of Fibronectin onto Emulsion-Templated Porous Polymer Scaffolds Enhances Human Endometrial Stromal Cell Adhesion, Infiltration, and Function

Sarah A. Richardson, Thomas M. Rawlings, Joanne Muter, Marc Walker, Jan J. Brosens, Neil R. Cameron, Ahmed M. Eissa

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10 Citations (Scopus)


A novel strategy for the surface functionalization of emulsion-templated highly porous (polyHIPE) materials as well as its application to in vitro 3D cell culture is presented. A heterobifunctional linker that consists of an amine-reactive N-hydroxysuccinimide ester and a photoactivatable nitrophenyl azide, N-sulfosuccinimidyl-6-(4′-azido-2′-nitrophenylamino)hexanoate (sulfo-SANPAH), is utilized to functionalize polyHIPE surfaces. The ability to conjugate a range of compounds (6-aminofluorescein, heptafluorobutylamine, poly(ethylene glycol) bis-amine, and fibronectin) to the polyHIPE surface is demonstrated using fluorescence imaging, FTIR spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Compared to other existing surface functionalization methods for polyHIPE materials, this approach is facile, efficient, versatile, and benign. It can also be used to attach biomolecules to polyHIPE surfaces including cell adhesion-promoting extracellular matrix proteins. Cell culture experiments demonstrated that the fibronectin-conjugated polyHIPE scaffolds improve the adhesion and function of primary human endometrial stromal cells. It is believed that this approach can be employed to produce the next generation of polyHIPE scaffolds with tailored surface functionality, enhancing their application in 3D cell culture and tissue engineering whilst broadening the scope of applications to a wider range of cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800351
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • 3D cell culture
  • endometrial tissue
  • polyHIPEs
  • porous polymer scaffolds
  • surface functionalization

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