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Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Vol. 127, 2015, Pages: 213–220

Non-biofouling property of well-defined concentrated polymer brushes

Chiaki Yoshikawa, Jun Qiu, Chih-Feng Huang, Yoshihisa Shimizu, Junji Suzuki, Edith van den Bosch

WPI Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba 305-0044, Ibaraki, Japan.


The non-biofouling properties of polymer brushes of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA), poly(2-hydroxyethyl acrylate) (PHEA), and poly(poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate) (PPEGMA) were comprehensively studied by varying graft densities (i.e., semi-dilute and concentrated regimes) and the thicknesses at the dry state of 2 and 10 nm. Semi-dilute polymer brushes (SDPBs) were prepared by grafting-to method and concentrated polymer brushes (CPBs) were prepared by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP). The adsorptions of proteins with different sizes were investigated on the brushes by quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) from a view point of size-exclusion effect specific to the CPBs. We confirmed that due to the size exclusion effect, the CPBs of all the three much suppressed proteins adsorption and human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) adhesion compared with the corresponding SDPBs. In order to investigate what type of proteins adsorbed on the brushes to trigger cell adhesion, we identified adsorbed proteins from fetal bovine serum on the brushes using a high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). Proteins were only detected on the SDPBs. Interestingly, the number and type of identified proteins were different on the SDPBs, indicating that chemical composition of the SDPBs affects protein adsorption, hence the cell adhesion. The adsorption mechanism on the SDPBs could be due to the combination of protein–polymer interaction and physical inclusion, whereas CPBs exhibit size exclusion effect combined with neutral hydrophilic nature of polymer, thereby, that provides excellent non-biofouling property.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Concentrated polymer brush; Living radical polymerization; Protein; Cell; Non-biofouling.

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