Plasma surface modification of polylactic acid to promote interaction with fibroblasts

  • Tinneke Jacobs
  • Heidi Declercq
  • Nathalie De Geyter
  • Ria Cornelissen
  • Peter Dubruel
  • Christophe Leys
  • Arnaud Beaurain
  • Edmond Payen
  • Rino MorentEmail author


In this work, medium pressure plasma treatment of polylactic acid (PLA) is investigated. PLA is a biocompatible aliphatic polymer, which can be used for bone fixation devices and tissue engineering scaffolds. Due to inadequate surface properties, cell adhesion and proliferation are far less than optimal and a surface modification is required for most biomedical applications. By using a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) operating at medium pressure in different atmospheres, the surface properties of a PLA foil are modified. After plasma treatment, water contact angle measurements showed an increased hydrophilic character of the foil surface. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed an increased oxygen content. Cell culture tests showed that plasma modification of PLA films increased the initial cell attachment both quantitatively and qualitatively. After 1 day, cells on plasma-treated PLA showed a superior cell morphology in comparison with unmodified PLA samples. However, after 7 days of culture, no significant differences were observed between untreated and plasma-modified PLA samples. While plasma treatment improves the initial cell attachment, it does not seem to influence cell proliferation. It has also been observed that the difference between the 3 discharge gases is negligible when looking at the improved cell-material interactions. From economical point of view, plasma treatments in air are thus the best choice.


Contact Angle Polylactic Acid Plasma Treatment Water Contact Angle Dielectric Barrier Discharge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



R. Morent acknowledges the support of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) for a post-doctoral research fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tinneke Jacobs
    • 1
  • Heidi Declercq
    • 2
  • Nathalie De Geyter
    • 1
  • Ria Cornelissen
    • 2
  • Peter Dubruel
    • 3
  • Christophe Leys
    • 1
  • Arnaud Beaurain
    • 4
  • Edmond Payen
    • 4
  • Rino Morent
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Unit Plasma Technology (RUPT), Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Basic Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health ScienceGhent UniverstityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials Group, Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Unité de Catalyse et Chimie du Solide, UMR CNRS 8181Université des Sciences et Technologies de LilleVilleneuve d’AscqFrance

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