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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2008;19(10):1363-82. doi: 10.1163/156856208786052407.

Modulus-dependent macrophage adhesion and behavior.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Macrophage attachment and activation to implanted materials is crucial in determining the extent of acute and chronic inflammation, and biomaterials degradation. In an effort to improve implant performance, considerable attention has centered on altering material surface chemistry to modulate macrophage behavior. In this work, the influence of the modulus of a material on the behavior of model macrophages (i.e., human promonocytic THP-1 cells) was investigated. We synthesized interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) coatings with varying moduli to test the hypothesis that lower moduli surfaces attenuate THP-1 cell attachment and activation. The surface chemistry and moduli of the IPN coatings were characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), respectively. THP-1 cells preferentially attached to stiffer coatings of identical surface chemistry, confirming that fewer macrophages attach to lower moduli surfaces. The secretion of human TNF-alpha, IL-10, IL-8 and IL-1beta from THP-1 cells attached to the IPNs was measured to assess the concentration of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. The global amount of TNF-alpha released did not vary for IPN surfaces of different moduli; however, the amount of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8 released demonstrated a biphasic response, where lower (approx. 1.4 kPa) and very high (approx. 348 kPa) moduli IPN surfaces attenuated IL-8 secretion. The different trends for TNF-alpha and IL-8 secretion highlight the complexity of the wound healing response, suggesting that there may not be a unique surface chemistry and substratum modulus combination that minimizes the pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by activated macrophages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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