Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 53, Issue 12, pp 8795–8806 | Cite as

Cell attachment/detachment behavior on poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-based microgel films: the effect of microgel structure and swelling ratio

  • Yongqing Xia
  • Dachao Tang
  • Han Wu
  • Xiaojuan Wang
  • Meiwen Cao
  • Hua He
  • Shengjie Wang


Microgels are cross-linked soft particles with a three-dimensional network structure that are swollen in a good solvent. Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAAm)-based microgels have attracted great attentions for their temperature responsive property, particularly in recent years, pNIPAAm-based microgel films were utilized as a new kind of thermoresponsive surface to tune cell attachment/detachment behavior via temperature stimuli. However, some results are not consistent, for example, different polymerization conditions may bring out different results even for pure pNIPAAm microgel. This work aims to find out which factor plays the critical role for successful cell detachment on the pNIPAAm-based microgel films. The results unraveled that the structure and swelling ratio of the microgel rather than the film thickness plays a key role on the successful cells detachment, unlike linear pNIPAAm films in which the cells’ attach/detach property is only determined by the film thickness. For poly(N-isopropylacrylamide–styrene) microgel film, NIH3T3 cells could only detach when the microgel has a uniform structure and the volume dilatation of the microgel (20/38 °C) is larger than 4.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Natural Science Fund of Shandong Province (ZR2015BM013) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21773310).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil ProcessingChina University of Petroleum (East China)QingdaoChina
  2. 2.Center for Bioengineering and BiotechnologyChina University of Petroleum (East China)QingdaoChina

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