Scaffold-free cell sheet engineering using thermoresponsive substrates provides a promising alternative to conventional tissue engineering which in general employs biodegradable scaffold materials. We have previously developed a thermoresponsive coating with glycerol based linear copolymers that enables gentle harvesting of entire cell sheets. In this article we present an in-depth analysis of these thermoresponsive linear polyglycidyl ethers and their performance as coating for substrates in cell culture in comparison with commercially available poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) coated culture dishes. A series of copolymers of glycidyl methyl ether (GME) and glycidyl ethyl ether (EGE) was prepared in order to study their thermoresponsive properties in solution and on the surface with respect to the comonomer ratio. In both cases, when grafted to planar surfaces or spherical nanoparticles, the applied thermoresponsive polyglycerol coatings render the respective surfaces switchable. Protein adsorption experiments on copolymer coated planar surfaces with surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy reveal the ability of the tested thermoresponsive coatings to be switched between highly protein resistant and adsorptive states. Cell culture experiments demonstrate that these thermoresponsive coatings allow for adhesion and proliferation of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts comparable to TCPS and faster than on PNIPAM substrates. Temperature triggered detachment of complete cell sheets from copolymer coated substrates was accomplished within minutes while maintaining high viability of the harvested cells. Thus such glycerol based copolymers present a promising alternative to PNIPAM as a thermoresponsive coating of cell culture substrates.
In-Depth Analysis of Switchable Glycerol Based Polymeric Coatings for Cell Sheet Engineering
Tobias Becherer, Silke Heinen, Qiang Wei, Rainer Haag, Marie Weinhart