Date: 27 Feb 2010

Lens epithelial cell response to atmospheric pressure plasma modified poly(methylmethacrylate) surfaces

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Abstract

Selective control of cellular response to polymeric biomaterials is an important consideration for many ocular implant applications. In particular, there is often a need to have one surface of an ophthalmic implant capable of promoting cell attachment while the other needs to be resistant to this effect. In this study, an atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) has been used to modify the surface region of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), a well established ocular biomaterial, with the aim of promoting a controlled response to human lens epithelial cells (LEC) cultured thereon. The DBD plasma discharge environment has also been employed to chemically graft a layer of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA) onto the PMMA and the response to LEC likewise determined. Two different molecular weights of PEGMA, namely 1000 and 2000 MW were used in these experiments. The LEC response to DBD treated polystyrene (PS) samples has also been examined as a positive control and to help to further elucidate the nature of the modified surfaces. The LEC adhered and proliferated readily on the DBD treated PMMA and PS surfaces when compared to the pristine polymer samples which showed little or no cell response. The PMMA and PS surfaces that had been DBD grafted with the PEGMA1000 layer were found to have some adhered cells. However, on closer inspection, these cells were clearly on the verge of detaching. In the case of the PEGMA2000 grafted surfaces no cells were observed indicating that the higher molecular weight PEGMA has been able to attain a surface conformation that is capable of resisting cell attachment in vitro.