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Biomacromolecules. 2007 Aug;8(8):2429-36. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Future design of a new keratoprosthesis. Physical and biological analysis of polymeric substrates for epithelial cell growth.

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  • 1Center for Biomaterials, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain.


One of the main issues in the development of new biocolonizable materials is to understand the influence of the synthetic material on the biological response in terms of cellular adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. In this study, we characterized different polymeric materials (with different hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity ratios and electrical charges) using dynamic-mechanical analysis, equilibrium water content, and surface energy. Cell adhesion, viability, morphology, and proliferation studies were conducted with these materials using a conjunctival epithelial cell line (IOBA-NHC). The biological data regarding physicochemical parameters of the materials were also correlated. When conjunctival epithelial cells were grown on poly(ethyl acrylate-co-hydroxyethyl acrylate) copolymers, P(EA-co-HEA), samples with up to 20% hydrophilic groups on their polymeric chain showed adhesion, viability, and proliferation, although these three factors decreased as the hydrophilic group content increased. The poly(ethyl acrylate-co-methacrylic acid) 90/10 copolymer, P(EA-co-MAAc) 90/10, showed better results than poly(ethyl acrylate-co-hydroxyethyl acrylate) copolymers and were even better than tissue control polystyrene (TCPS). This feature is explained by the presence of electrical charges on the surface of the poly(ethyl acrylate-co-methacrylic acid) 90/10 copolymer. The fact that the ionic groups are configured in domains structured in nanophases as happens in this copolymer improves cell adhesion even further.

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