Protein adsorption and cell adhesion on nanoscale bioactive coatings formed from poly(ethylene glycol) and albumin microgels

Evan A. Scott, Michael D. Nichols, Lee H. Cordova, Brandon J. George, Young Shin Jun, Donald L. Elbert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Late-term thrombosis on drug-eluting stents is an emerging problem that might be addressed using extremely thin, biologically active hydrogel coatings. We report a dip-coating strategy to covalently link poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) to substrates, producing coatings with {less-than or approximate}100 nm thickness. Gelation of PEG-octavinylsulfone with amines in either bovine serum albumin (BSA) or PEG-octaamine was monitored by dynamic light scattering (DLS), revealing the presence of microgels before macrogelation. NMR also revealed extremely high end-group conversions prior to macrogelation, consistent with the formation of highly crosslinked microgels and deviation from Flory-Stockmayer theory. Before macrogelation, the reacting solutions were diluted and incubated with nucleophile-functionalized surfaces. Using optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy (OWLS) and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D), we identified a highly hydrated, protein-resistant layer with a thickness of approximately 75 nm. Atomic force microscopy in buffered water revealed the presence of coalesced spheres of various sizes but with diameters less than about 100 nm. Microgel-coated glass or poly(ethylene terephthalate) exhibited reduced protein adsorption and cell adhesion. Cellular interactions with the surface could be controlled by using different proteins to cap unreacted vinylsulfone groups within the coating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4481-4493
Number of pages13
Issue number34
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Albumin
  • Cell adhesion
  • Microgel
  • Nanogel
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Surface modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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