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Acta Biomater. 2014 Jul;10(7):2956-64. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.02.046. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Two amino acid-based superlow fouling polymers: poly(lysine methacrylamide) and poly(ornithine methacrylamide).

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325, United States.
  • 2Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325, United States. Electronic address:


We developed and investigated two new antifouling zwitterionic polymers, poly(lysine methacrylamide) (pLysAA) and poly(ornithine methacrylamide) (pOrnAA), both derived from natural amino acids - lysine and ornithine, respectively. The pLysAA and pOrnAA brushes were grafted on gold via the surface-initiated photoiniferter-mediated polymerization, with the polymer film thickness controlled by the UV-irradiation time. Nonspecific adsorption from human blood serum and plasma was investigated by surface plasmon resonance. Results show that the adsorption level decreased with the increasing film thickness. With the thin films of ∼14.5 nm, the minimal adsorption on pLysAA was 3.9 ng cm(-2) from serum and 5.4 ng cm(-2) from plasma, whereas the lowest adsorption on pOrnAA was 1.8 and 3.2 ng cm(-2), from serum and plasma, respectively. Such protein resistance is comparable to other widely reported antifouling surfaces such as poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) and polyacrylamide, with a much thinner polymer film thickness. Both pLysAA and pOrnAA showed better protein resistance than the previously reported serine-based poly(serine methacrylate), whereas the pOrnAA is the best among three. The pLysAA- and pOrnAA-grafted surfaces also highly resisted the endothelial cell attachment and Escherichia coli K12 bacterial adhesion. Nanogels made of pLysAA and pOrnAA were found to be ultrastable in undiluted serum, with no aggregation observed after culturing for 24h. Dextran labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC-dextran) was encapsulated in nanogels as a model drug. The encapsulated FITC-dextran exhibited controlled release from the pOrnAA nanogels. The superlow fouling, biomimetic and multifunctional properties of pLysAA and pOrnAA make them promising materials for a wide range of applications, such as implant coating, drug delivery and biosensing.


Antifouling; Bacteria; Poly(lysine methacrylamide); Poly(ornithine methacrylamide); Protein adsorption

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