Polymer coatings that display specific biological signals while preventing nonspecific interactions

Thomas Ameringer, Peter Fransen, Penny Bean, Graham Johnson, Suzanne Pereira, Richard A Evans, Helmut Thissen, Laurence Meagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Control over cell-material surface interactions is the key to many new and improved biomedical devices. It can only be achieved if interactions that are mediated by nonspecifically adsorbed serum proteins are minimized and if cells instead respond to specific ligand molecules presented on the surface. Here, we present a simple yet effective surface modification method that allows for the covalent coupling and presentation of specific biological signals on coatings which have significantly reduced nonspecific biointerfacial interactions. To achieve this we synthesized bottle brush type copolymers consisting of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate and (meth)acrylates providing activated NHS ester groups as well as different spacer lengths between the NHS groups and the polymer backbone. Copolymers containing different molar ratios of these monomers were grafted to amine functionalized polystyrene cell culture substrates, followed by the covalent immobilization of the cyclic peptides cRGDfK and cRADfK using residual NHS groups. Polymers were characterized by GPC and NMR and surface modification steps were analyzed using XPS. The cellular response was evaluated using HeLa cell attachment experiments. The results showed strong correlations between the effectiveness of the control over biointerfacial interactions and the polymer architecture. They also demonstrate that optimized fully synthetic copolymer coatings, which can be applied to a wide range of substrate materials, provide excellent control over biointerfacial interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370 - 379
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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