Plasma surface modification of poly(D,L-lactic acid) as a tool to enhance protein adsorption and the attachment of different cell types

C. M. Alves, Y. Yang, D. Marton, D. L. Carnes, J. L. Ong, V. L. Sylvia, D. D. Dean, R. L. Reis, C. M. Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We have studied the influence of oxygen radio frequency glow discharge (RfGD) on the surface and bulk properties of poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PDLLA) and the effect of this surface modification on both protein adsorption and bone cell behavior. PDLLA films were characterized before and after plasma surface modification by water contact angle, surface energy, and adhesion tension of water as well as by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray electron spectroscopy (XPS), and Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy. RfGD-films showed an increase in hydrophilicity and surface energy when compared with untreated films. Surface morphological changes were observed by SEM. Chemical analysis indicated significant differences in both atomic percentages and oxygen functional group. Protein adsorption was evaluated by combining solute depletion and spectroscopic techniques. Bovine serum albumin (BSA), fibronectin (FN), vitronectin (VN), and fetal bovine serum (FBS) were used in this study. RfGD-treated surfaces adsorbed more BSA and FN from single specie solutions than FBS that is a more complex, multi-specie solution. MG63 osteoblast-like cells and primary cultures of fetal rat calvarial (FRC) cells were used to assess both the effect of RfGD treatment and protein adsorption on cell attachment and proliferation. In the absence of preadsorbed proteins, cells could not distinguish between treated and untreated surfaces, with the exception of MG63 cells cultured for longer periods of time. In contrast, the adsorption of proteins increased the cells' preference for treated surfaces, thus indicating a crucial role for adsorbed proteins in mediating the response of osteogenic cells to the RfGD-treated PDLLA surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell attachment and proliferation
  • Plasma surface modification
  • Polylactic acid
  • Protein adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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