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J Biomed Mater Res. 1997 Mar 5;34(3):327-36.

The differential effects of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)/poly(caprolactone) polymers on cell proliferation and collagen synthesis by human lung fibroblasts.

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Institute of Protein Biochemistry and Enzymology, Naples, Italy.


Because of its chemical versatility and demonstrated biocompatibility, poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) has been widely used as a polymer for biomedical applications. Since this hydrophilic material shows a poor interface with cells, blendings with other polymers were done to improve cytocompatibility. In our polymer, the presence of hydrophobic dominions on the material surface, due to the interpenetrating polymerization of pHEMA with poly(caprolactone) (PCL), seems to ameliorate the cytocompatibility in terms of cell adhesion and metabolism. For our experiments, we used IMR-90 human fibroblasts, as these cells strongly regulate DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis as anchorage-dependent variables. Cell attachment on a pHEMA/PCL interpenetrating polymer network was optimal, suggesting a strong adhesion between the cells and the polymer surface. Cell adhesion was weaker on pHEMA, as a significant fraction of the fibroblasts revealed a lack of spreading, with most cells remaining spherical. Moreover, only fibroblasts seeded on pHEMA significantly decreased mRNA synthesis; collagen production and cell shapes ranged from fully flat and proliferating, to minimally spread and nonproliferating. Finally, DNA synthesis, as a measure of cell proliferation, was markedly inhibited in cells cultured on pHEMA but not on pHEMA/PCL. In conclusion, our results suggest that control of cell growth and metabolism by biomedical polymers is based on physicochemical mechanism(s) in which the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity ratio of the material surfaces may play an important role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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