Cross-linked bioreducible layer-by-layer films for increased cell adhesion and transgene expression

Jenifer Blacklock, Torsten K. Sievers, Hitesh Handa, Ye Zi You, David Oupický, Guangzhao Mao, Helmuth Möhwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The effect of cross-linking layer-by-layer (LbL) films consisting of bioreducible poly(2-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (rPDMAEMA) and DNA is examined with regard to rigidity, biodegradability, cell adhesion, and transfection activity using 1,5-diiodopentane (DIP) cross-linker. DIP chemically reacts with the tertiary amines of rPDMAEMA, altering the chemical composition of these LbL films. The result is a change in surface morphology, film swelling behavior, and film rigidity, measured with AFM and ellipsometry. It is found that the apparent Youngs modulus is increased more than 4 times its original value upon cross-linking. Cross-linking mass is additionally confirmed with a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D). Comprehensive analyses of these experimental values were investigated to calculate the degree of cross-linking using the rubber elasticity theory and the Flory-Rehner theory. Additionally, the Flory-Huggins parameter, χ, was calculated. Good agreement in the two methods yields a cross-linking density of ∼0.82 mmol/cm 3. The Flory-Huggins parameter increased upon cross-linking from 1.07 to 1.2, indicating increased hydrophobicity of the network and formation of bulk water droplets within the films. In addition, the effects of cross-linking on film disassembly by 1,4-dithiothreitol (DTT) are found to be insignificant despite the alteration in film rigidity. Mouse fibroblast cells and smooth muscle cells are used to study the effect of cross-linking on cell adhesion and cell transfection activity. In vitro transfection activity up to seven days is quantified using secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) DNA. Film cross-linking is found to enhance cell adhesion and prolong the duration of cellular transfection. These results contribute to the development of bioreducible polymer coatings for localized gene delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5283-5291
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 29 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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