RGD constructs with physical anchor groups as polymer co-electrospinnable cell adhesives


The tissue integration of synthetic polymers can be promoted by displaying RGD peptides at the biointerface with the objective of enhancing colonization of the material by endogenous cells. A firm but flexible attachment of the peptide to the polymer matrix, still allowing interaction with receptors, is therefore of interest. Here, the covalent coupling of flexible physical anchor groups, allowing for temporary immobilization on polymeric surfaces via hydrophobic or dipole–dipole interactions, to a RGD peptide was investigated. For this purpose, a stearate or an oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) was attached to GRGDS in 51–69% yield. The obtained RGD linker constructs were characterized by NMR, IR and MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry, revealing that the commercially available OEG and stearate linkers are in fact mixtures of similar compounds. The RGD linker constructs were co-electrospun with poly(p-dioxanone) (PPDO). After electrospinning, nitrogen could be detected on the surface of the PPDO fibers by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The nitrogen content exceeded the calculated value for the homogeneous material mixture suggesting a pronounced presentation of the peptide on the fiber surface. Increasing amounts of RGD linker constructs in the electrospinning solution did not lead to a detection of an increased amount of peptide on the scaffold surface, suggesting inhomogeneous distribution of the peptide on the PPDO fiber surface. Human adipose-derived stem cells cultured on the patches showed similar viability as when cultured on PPDO containing pristine RGD. The fully characterized RGD linker constructs could serve as valuable tools for the further development of tissue-integrating polymeric scaffolds.
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