EGF-grafted PDMS surfaces in artificial cornea applications
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Lack of epithelial cell coverage has remained a persistent problem in the design of an artificial cornea. In this work, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surfaces were modified with epidermal growth factor (EGF) to improve the growth of corneal epithelial cells. The EGF was covalently tethered to PDMS substrates aminated by plasma polymerization of allylamine via a homobifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) spacer. Surface modification was confirmed by contact angle and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements. By varying the ratio of EGF to PEG from 1:50 to 1:5, EGF amounts from 40 to 90 ng/cm2 could be bound, as determined by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and 125I radiolabelling. Human corneal epithelial cells on the various modified surfaces were cultured both in the presence and absence of EGF in the culture medium to determine the effect of covalently bound EGF on the cells. The results demonstrated that covalently bound EGF on the surfaces is active with respect to promoting epithelial cell coverage. This was significant when compared to unmodified controls.
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