Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Lithium-End-Capped Polylactide Thin Films Influence Osteoblast Progenitor Cell Differentiation and Mineralization

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Publication Date

Winter 2-2015


End-capping by covalently binding functional groups to the ends of polymer chains offers potential advantages for tissue engineering scaffolds, but the ability of such polymers to influence cell behavior has not been studied. As a demonstration, polylactide (PLA) was end-capped with lithium carboxylate ionic groups (hPLA13kLi) and evaluated. Thin films of the hPLA13kLi and PLA homopolymer were prepared with and without surface texturing. Murine osteoblast progenitor cells from collagen 1α1 transgenic reporter mice were used to assess cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation, and mineralization. Measurement of green fluorescent protein expressed by these cells and xylenol orange staining for mineral allowed quantitative analysis. The hPLA13kLi was biologically active, increasing initial cell attachment and enhancing differentiation, while reducing proliferation and strongly suppressing mineralization, relative to PLA. These effects of bound lithium ions (Li+) had not been previously reported, and were generally consistent with the literature on soluble additions of lithium. The surface texturing generated here did not influence cell behavior. These results demonstrate that end-capping could be a useful approach in scaffold design, where a wide range of biologically active groups could be employed, while likely retaining the desirable characteristics associated with the unaltered homopolymer backbone. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 103A: 500–510, 2015.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A





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