Effects on interfacial properties and cell adhesion of surface modification by pectic hairy regions

M. Morra, C. Cassinelli, G. Cascardo, M.D. Nagel, C. Della Volpe, S. Siboni, D. Maniglio, M. Brugnara, G. Ceccone, H.A. Schols, P. Ulvskov

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Polystyrene Petri dishes, aminated by a plasma deposition process, were surface modified by the covalent linking of two different enzymatically modified hairy regions (HRs) from pectin containing, for example, rhamnogalacturonan-I and xylogalacturonan structural elements. The two polysaccharide preparations share the same structural elements of apple pectin, but the relative amounts and lengths of the neutral side chains present differ. Surface analysis by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, contact angle measurement, and atomic force microscope (AFM) force-separation curves was used to characterize the effects on surface chemistry and interfacial forces of the surface modification process. Cell adhesion experiments using continuous L-929 fibroblasts and primary aortic smooth muscle cells were performed to evaluate the effect of the polysaccharide nature on cell adhesion. Results show that immobilization of the HR affects the interfacial field of forces and the cell behavior: "equilibrium" contact angles, obtained by a recently introduced vibrational approach, decrease after HR immobilization reaching a value close to 20. AFM force-separation curves show a more extended (or softer) interface in the case of the HR bearing longer side chains. Accordingly, depending on the HR preparation, cells shifted from spread morphology and adhesion behavior quantitatively comparable to that observed on conventional tissue culture polystyrene to rounded morphology and significantly lower adhesion. These data show that engineering of plant pectins can be a valuable tool to prepare novel and finely tuned polysaccharides having different chemico-physical and biological properties, to be used in the surface modification of medical devices and materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2094-2104
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • polysaccharide-coated surfaces
  • atomic-force microscopy
  • ramified regions
  • heparin
  • polystyrene
  • binding
  • wall
  • rhamnogalacturonase
  • antithrombin
  • architecture


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