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Biomaterials. 1992;13(12):832-40.

Modification of the biocompatible and haemocompatible properties of polymer substrates by plasma-deposited fluorocarbon coatings.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Chimie MacromolĂ©culaire, UniversitĂ© de Montpellier II, France.


The polymerization of gases present in a low temperature plasma is a technique particularly well suited for biomedical material processing. Therefore, the possibilities this technique offers to increase the biocompatibility and haemocompatibility of polysulphone and poly(hydroxybutyrate) membranes to be used in a new bioartificial pancreas device were studied. The deposition of thin fluorocarbon coatings from an argon plasma containing perfluorohexane gave very smooth and hydrophobic surfaces without affecting the filtering properties of the treated membranes. Adding hydrogen increased the reaction yield, but gave rougher and less hydrophobic coatings. We characterized the biological properties of the treated surfaces and discussed the influence of the modified surface properties on the biological behaviour of the treated polymers. The good biocompatibility of the deposited coatings was established by following in vitro the insulin secretion of Langerhans islets cultured on the treated membranes and by examining the fibrous capsule that developed on plasma-treated polymer disks after three months of in vivo incubation in the peritoneum of Wistar rats. Rough and haemocompatible films of poly(hydroxybutyrate) and smoother, but more thrombogenic, polysulphone films were treated by perfluorohexane and perfluorohexane + H2 plasmas to study the relative influence of surface roughness and surface energy on polymer thrombogenicity. In vitro protein adsorption and total blood clotting tests proved that the surface roughness influences the thrombogenicity more than the other surface properties. This study seems to show that the plasma deposition of smooth and hydrophobic fluorocarbon coatings can increase the biocompatibility and reduce the surface thrombogenicity of the treated membranes without affecting their filtering properties.

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