Protein Micropatterns by PEG Grafting on Dewetted PLGA Films

28 November 2019

The ability to control protein and cell positioning on a microscopic scale is crucial in many biomedical applications, such as single cell studies. We have developed and investigated the grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) brushes onto poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) thin films, which can be micro-patterned by exploiting their spontaneous dewetting on top of polystyrene (PS) films. Dense PEG brushes with excellent protein repellence were achieved on PLGA by using cloud point grafting conditions, and selective adsorption of proteins on the micro-patterned substrates was achieved by exploiting the different affinity protein adsorption onto the PEG brushes and the PS holes. PEG-grafted PLGA films showed better resistance against spontaneous degradation in buffer than bare PLGA films, due to passivation by the thin PEG coating. The simplicity of dewetting and subsequent grafting approaches, coupled with the ability to coat and pattern non-planar substrates give rise to possible applications of PEG-grafted PLGA films in single cell studies and cell cultures for tissue engineering.