Layer-by-layer (LbL) assembled multicomponent films offer the opportunity to control and to fine-tune cell attachment and behavior on solid surfaces [Layer-by-Layer Films for Biomedical Applications, edited by Picart et al. (Wiley, Weinheim, 2014) and El-Khouri et al., 'Multifunctional layer-by-layer architectures for biological applications' in Functional Polymeric Ultrathin Films, edited by Advincula and Knoll (Wiley, Weinheim, 2011), Vol. 1]. At the same time, these films allow for quite detailed physicochemical characterization of static and dynamic surface properties that are typically not available in classic cell culture. In this report, the authors investigate cell adhesion and cytocompatibility of compositionally and morphologically similar thin films composed of oppositely charged synthetic or natural polyelectrolytes in which different physical parameters such as surface charge or water content are varied through chemical composition and deposition conditions. Human adult dermal fibroblasts were chosen as a model because of the need for chemically defined matrix in the field of primary cell amplification. The growth and the stability of the multilayer films in the incubation media were studied dissipation-enhanced quartz crystal micobalance (QCM-D) and ellipsometry. The QCM-D signals observed during the film deposition were analyzed qualitatively to estimate the viscoelastic properties of the films. The authors used contact angle measurements with water to study the contribution of the chemical functionalities to wetting behavior of the films. Most importantly, they also studied the interaction of the films with serum components. Our results underline that cell adhesion is a highly complex process which is not only governed by the functionality of a surface but also by its morphology, its affinity for serum components, and also by changes of surface properties brought about by adsorbing molecules. Of the many LbL-films tested, poly(4-styrenesulfonate)/poly(allyl amine) multilayers were best suited for our fibroblast cultures, which opens a way to avoid gelatin based and similar substrates whose exact chemical composition is unknown.
Sergeeva, Yulia N., Tongtong Huang, Olivier Felix, Laura Jung, Philippe Tropel, Stephane Viville, Gero Decher