Adherence and viability of primary human keratinocytes and primary human dermal fibroblasts on acrylonitrile-based copolymers with different concentrations of positively charged functional groups


As shown in several studies, various properties of biomaterials such as stiffness, surface roughness, chemical composition or the amount of functional groups at the surface can influence adhesion, viability, proliferation and functionalities of cells. The aim of this work was to explore whether a cell-selective effect could be achieved for acrylonitrile-based copolymers containing different contents of positively charged functional groups, which were introduced by incorporation of methacrylic acid-2-aminoethylester hydrochloride (AEMA) units. The p(AN-co-AEMA) copolymers were synthesized by suspension polymerization in water and processed into disk shaped test specimen via a sintering process to ensure the absence of organic solvents in the copolymers. Copolymers with an AEMA content of 1.4, 1.6, and 4.4 mol-% were investigated according to their cell-selective capacity, which should support the adhesion, viability and proliferation of keratinocytes, while the adherence of fibroblasts should rather be disabled. The test samples were seeded with primary human keratinocytes and primary human dermal fibroblasts in mono- as well as in co-cultures. Tissue culture plate polystyrene (TCP) was used to control the physiologic growth of the cells. Density and viability of attached and non-adherent cells were analyzed by live/dead staining, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay and flow cytometry with DAPI staining. For the assured discrimination of adherent cell types in coculture a keratin/vimentin-staining was performed. On copolymers with 4.4 mol-% AEMA adherent keratinocytes in monoculture and cocultured keratinocytes and fibroblasts showed a higher viability, a lower impairment of cell membranes and higher densities of viable cells compared to both other copolymers. For adherent fibroblasts these parameters did not differ between the copolymers and an increasing ratio of keratinocytes to fibroblasts in cocultures were found with increasing AEMA content. The results showed that keratinocytes and fibroblasts can be influenced by copolymers with different contents of positively charged functional groups. Since the tendency of a better adherence and viability of keratinocytes with increasing amounts of positively charged functional groups was shown, the potential enhancement by further increase of the amount of positively charged functional groups shall be tested in a future study.
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