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Biomaterials. 2007 Nov;28(32):4756-68. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

Enhanced fibronectin adsorption on carbon nanotube/poly(carbonate) urethane: independent role of surface nano-roughness and associated surface energy.

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  • 1Division of Engineering, Brown University, 184 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


The contribution of nanoscale surface roughness on the adsorption of one key cell adhesive protein, fibronectin, on carbon nanotube/poly(carbonate) urethane composites of different surface energies was evaluated. Systematic control of various surface energies by creating different nanosurface roughness features was performed by mixing two promising biomaterials: multi-wall carbon nanotubes and poly(carbonate) urethane. High ratios of carbon nanotubes coated with poly(carbonate) urethane provided for greater hydrophilic surfaces because of higher nanosurface roughness although pure carbon nanotube surfaces were extremely hydrophobic. Fabrication methods followed in this study generated various homogenous nanosurface roughness values (ranging from 2 to 20nm root mean square (RMS) AFM roughness). With the aid of such nanosurface roughness values in composites, a model was developed that linearly correlated nanosurface roughness and associated nanosurface energy to fibronectin adsorption. Specifically, independent contributions of surface chemistry (70%) and surface nano-roughness (30%) were found to mediate fibronectin adsorption. The results of the present study showed why carbon nanotube/poly(carbonate) urethane composites enhance cellular functions and tissue growth by delineating the importance of their physical nano-roughness on promoting the adsorption of a protein well known to be critical for mediating the adhesion of anchorage-dependent cells.

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