Biomimetic materials which integrate with surrounding tissues and regulate new tissue formation are attractive for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Plasma immersion ion-implanted (PIII) polyethersulfone (PES) provides an excellent platform for the irreversible immobilization of bioactive proteins and peptides. PIII treatment significantly improves PES wettability and results in the formation of acidic groups on the PES surface, with the highest concentration observed at 40–80 s of PIII treatment. The elastomeric protein tropoelastin can be stably adhered to PIII-treated PES in a cell-interactive conformation by tailoring the pH and salt levels of the protein–surface association conditions. Tropoelastin-coated PIII-treated PES surfaces are resistant to molecular fouling, and actively promote high levels of fibroblast adhesion and proliferation while maintaining cell morphology. Tropoelastin, unlike other extracellular matrix proteins such as fibronectin, uniquely retains full bioactivity even after medical-grade ethylene oxide sterilization. This dual approach of PIII treatment and tropoelastin cloaking allows for the stable, robust functionalization of clinically used polymer materials for directed cellular interactions.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3675919.
- Received October 18, 2016.
- Accepted January 10, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.