Biofunctionalization of Titanium Substrates Using Nanoscale Polymer Brushes with Cell Adhesion Peptides

Alice Rosenthal, Amy Mantz, Albert Nguyen, Eva Bittrich, Eva Schubert, Mathias Schubert, Manfred Stamm, Angela K. Pannier, Petra Uhlmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The grafting of polymer brushes to substrates is a promising method to modify surface properties such as wettability and the affinity toward proteins and cells for applications in microelectronics, biomedical devices, and sensors. Poly(acrylic) acid (PAA) brushes are of high interest because of their stimuli-responsive behavior and the presence of carboxy (COOH) groups, which allow for immobilization of bioactive molecules. The "grafting-to" approach results in homogeneous and well-defined polymer brushes, but, although grafting-to has been demonstrated with PAA brushes on silicon (Si) substrates, it has not been performed on biocompatible materials such as titanium (Ti). Here, we have described a facile method to modify biocompatible Ti substrates with PAA brushes to amplify their substrate functionality. The grafting-to PAA "pseudo" brushes were successfully grafted to Ti substrates and retained their pH-dependent swelling behavior. An RGD peptide was covalently bound to COOH groups of the PAA brushes (PAA-RGD) as a model bioactive group. While NIH/3T3 cell adhesion was significantly decreased on PAA-functionalized Ti substrates, PAA-RGD on Ti had cell adhesion comparable to that of flat Ti at 24 and 48 h, with significantly more cells adhered to PAA-RGD compared to PAA on Ti at 48 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6543-6550
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 28 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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