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Langmuir. 2008 Feb 5;24(3):613-6. doi: 10.1021/la702917z. Epub 2008 Jan 8.

Poly-2-methyl-2-oxazoline: a peptide-like polymer for protein-repellent surfaces.

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  • 1Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.


Surface coatings with so-called protein-repellent or nonfouling polymers have become indispensable for the development of modern therapeutic and diagnostic medical devices such as biosensors, drug-delivery capsules, and biomedical implants. Nowadays, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is routinely used for these purposes. However, there is increasing evidence that PEG has limited long-term stability, particularly in vivo. Here we investigate poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline) (PMOXA) as a potential alternative polymer. We designed comb copolymers consisting of a polycationic poly(l-lysine) backbone and PMOXA side chains by analogy to precisely studied and highly protein-repellent PEG-based systems. Using optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy, we quantitatively compare the in situ self-assembly of the comb copolymers on negatively charged surfaces and the exposure of the formed monolayers to full human serum. We find that the PMOXA-based coatings with an optimal side-chain grafting density eliminate protein adsorption to a level of <2 ng/cm2; that is, they quantitatively equal the protein-repellent properties of the best PEG-based coatings.

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