Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) based thin microgel films for use in cell culture applications

Ilaria Sanzari*, Elena Buratti, Ruomeng Huang, Camelia G. Tusan, Franco Dinelli, Nicholas D. Evans, Themistoklis Prodromakis, Monica Bertoldo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) is widely used to fabricate cell sheet surfaces for cell culturing, however copolymer and interpenetrated polymer networks based on PNIPAm have been rarely explored in the context of tissue engineering. Many complex and expensive techniques have been employed to produce PNIPAm-based films for cell culturing. Among them, spin coating has demonstrated to be a rapid fabrication process of thin layers with high reproducibility and uniformity. In this study, we introduce an innovative approach to produce anchored smart thin films both thermo- and electro-responsive, with the aim to integrate them in electronic devices and better control or mimic different environments for cells in vitro. Thin films were obtained by spin coating of colloidal solutions made by PNIPAm and PAAc nanogels. Anchoring the films to the substrates was obtained through heat treatment in the presence of dithiol molecules. From analyses carried out with AFM and XPS, the final samples exhibited a flat morphology and high stability to water washing. Viability tests with cells were finally carried out to demonstrate that this approach may represent a promising route to integrate those hydrogels films in electronic platforms for cell culture applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6126
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date9 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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