Research Highlights

Novel Brush Polymers Developed as Biomaterials (2009.4.23)

2010-01-12 799

Professor Moonhor Ree (Department of Chemistry) and his research group, in a joint research with a Dongguk University Medical School team (Professor Heesoo Kim), successfully synthesized new brush polymers. The newly developed brush polymers are suitable for use in biomedical applications including medical devices and biosensors that require biocompatibility and the reduced possibility of post-operative infection.

Because cell membranes play an important role protecting the material inside the cell and maintaining the structure and function of the cell, studies on polymer materials that mimic membranes have received significant attention.

In the study, Professor Ree’s team reported new brush polymers with various numbers of bristle ends incorporating phosphorylcholine (PC) moieties, which in thin films have self-assembled nanostructures and cell-membrane-mimicking surfaces.

The bristles in the novel brush polymers have a strong tendency to self-assemble, allowing for the polymers to have three phases depending on the temperature regime. Further, the brush polymers in thin films demonstrate to have a molecular multibilayer structure up to 55°C with stable PC-rich surfaces that successfully mimic cell membrane surfaces.

The brush polymers exhibit excellent water wettability and water sorption while retaining the remarkable molecular multi-bilayer structure, thus having hydrophilic surfaces. Also, the novel multibilayer structured films repel fibrinogen molecules and blood platelets from their surfaces, at the same time having bactericidal effects. Moreover, the brush polymer films are found to provide comfortable surface environments for the successful anchoring and growth of human cells (for example, HEp-2 cells), and to exhibit excellent biocompatibility in mice.

The structural analysis of the thin films was carried out by using grazing-incidence X-ray scattering (GIXS) with synchrotron radiation sources at the Pohang Light Source on POSTECH campus.

The self-assembly structures, properties, and biocompatibility of the newly developed brush polymers are expected to contribute to the development of side effect-free coating materials for artificial organs or medical devices.

The study achievements were introduced in the April 4 online edition of Advanced Functional Materials (2009, vol. 19, 1631-1644).

Professor Moonhor Ree
Department of Chemistry
Tel: +82-54-279-2120
Fax: +82-54-279-3399
E-mail: ree@postech.ac.kr