Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Dual-functional Electrospun Poly (2-hydroxyethyl Methacrylate)

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Publication Date

Fall 2011


Poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) has been widely used in many biomedical applications due to its well-known biocompatibility. For tissue engineering applications, porous scaffolds that mimic fibrous structures of natural extracellular matrix and possess high surface-area-to-volume ratios are highly desirable. So far, a systematic approach to control diameter and morphology of pHEMA fibers has not been reported and potential applications of pHEMA fibers have barely been explored. In this work, pHEMA was synthesized and processed into fibrous scaffolds using an electrospinning approach. Fiber diameters from 270 nm to 3.6 μm were achieved by controlling polymer solution concentration and electrospinning flow rate. Post-electrospinning thermal treatment significantly improves integrity of the electrospun membranes in water. The pHEMA microfibrous membranes exhibited water absorption up to 280% (w/w), whereas the pHEMA hydrogel only absorbed 70% water. Fibrinogen adsorption experiments demonstrate that the electrospun pHEMA fibers highly resist nonspecific protein adsorption. Hydroxyl groups on electrospun pHEMA fibers were further activated for protein immobilization. A bovine serum albumin (BSA) binding capacity as high as 120 mg BSA/g membrane was realized at an intermediate fiber diameter. The pHEMA fibrous scaffolds functionalized with collagen I significantly promoted fibroblast adhesion, spreading, and proliferation. We conclude that the electrospun pHEMA fibers are dual functional, that is, they resist nonspecific protein adsorption meanwhile abundant hydroxyl groups on fibers allow effective conjugation of biomolecules in a nonfouling background. High water absorption and dual functionality of the electrospun pHEMA fibers may lead to a number of potential applications such as wound dressings, tissue scaffolds, and affinity membranes. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2011.





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