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Copolymerization with Cationic Monomers Enhances Cell Adhesion on Patterned "Smart" Hydrogels

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Alexandria Brady-Mine
Nathan Gallant

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Tampa

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Dr. Nathan Gallant

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Controlling cell adhesion to smart materials is essential for advancements in medical devices and tissue engineering. The poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) polymer is a "smart" thermoresponsive polymer with extensive applications in new medical technologies. Cells can survive the polymer's 32°C volume phase transition. Our group is using this property to 3D print tissues and develop a cell culture dish using mechanical forces instead of chemicals to release cells, resulting in a higher cell yield.

Cell adhesion to the PNIPAAm gels is poor due to minimal protein adsorption. Based on the observation that coating surfaces with polylysine enhanced cell adhesion on PNIPAAm gels, we tested the hypothesis that incorporating APMA (cationic lysine-like monomers) into the PNIPAAm polymer network would enhance cell adhesion on patterned and uniform polymer surfaces and that this enhancement is tunable based on the concentration of APMA. A series of cross-linkable PNIPAAm polymers incorporating 0-5% APMA was synthesized. NIH3T3 cells were adhered to glass coverslips coated with the crosslinked PNIPAAm polymer films. The adhesion strength of cells was quantified using a spinning disk device which provides a well-defined, radially varying range of hydrodynamic forces. The uniform 1% and 5% films showed 2.7-fold and 10-fold increases, respectively over the 0% uniform samples. The patterned 1% and 5% films showed 3.6- fold and 36-fold increases, respectively over the 0% patterned samples. The 0%, 1%, and 5% patterned polymer slips showed 3.7-, 4.8-, and 14- fold increases, respectively, in cell adhesion strength relative to their uniform counterparts.

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Copolymerization with Cationic Monomers Enhances Cell Adhesion on Patterned "Smart" Hydrogels

Controlling cell adhesion to smart materials is essential for advancements in medical devices and tissue engineering. The poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) polymer is a "smart" thermoresponsive polymer with extensive applications in new medical technologies. Cells can survive the polymer's 32°C volume phase transition. Our group is using this property to 3D print tissues and develop a cell culture dish using mechanical forces instead of chemicals to release cells, resulting in a higher cell yield.

Cell adhesion to the PNIPAAm gels is poor due to minimal protein adsorption. Based on the observation that coating surfaces with polylysine enhanced cell adhesion on PNIPAAm gels, we tested the hypothesis that incorporating APMA (cationic lysine-like monomers) into the PNIPAAm polymer network would enhance cell adhesion on patterned and uniform polymer surfaces and that this enhancement is tunable based on the concentration of APMA. A series of cross-linkable PNIPAAm polymers incorporating 0-5% APMA was synthesized. NIH3T3 cells were adhered to glass coverslips coated with the crosslinked PNIPAAm polymer films. The adhesion strength of cells was quantified using a spinning disk device which provides a well-defined, radially varying range of hydrodynamic forces. The uniform 1% and 5% films showed 2.7-fold and 10-fold increases, respectively over the 0% uniform samples. The patterned 1% and 5% films showed 3.6- fold and 36-fold increases, respectively over the 0% patterned samples. The 0%, 1%, and 5% patterned polymer slips showed 3.7-, 4.8-, and 14- fold increases, respectively, in cell adhesion strength relative to their uniform counterparts.