Small changes in the polymer structure influence the adsorption behavior of fibrinogen on polymer surfaces: Validation of a new rapid screening technique

Norbert Weber, Durgadas Bolikal, Sharon L. Bourke, Joachim Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Numerous studies conclude that the selective adsorption of plasma proteins on materials contacting blood or tissue affects all subsequent interactions related to the biocompatibility of artificial surfaces. However, there are only a few studies available, which clearly demonstrate that there is a correlation between surface chemistry and selective protein adsorption. Detailed knowledge of such correlations would facilitate the design of biocompatible materials. In this study, a rapid, fluorescence-based, screening technique using a 384-well format for polymer-protein interactions was developed. The screening assay was used to measure the adsorption of human fibrinogen on 46 test polymers (44 polyarylates selected from a combinatorial library of tyrosine-derived polyarylates, and two lactide-based polymers). In this library of polyarylates, structural changes are generated by variations in either the polymer backbone or the polymer pendent chain. Although no overall trend between polymer hydrophobicity and fibrinogen adsorption could be identified using the entire set of test polymers (R2 = 0.43), fibrinogen adsorption was clearly correlated with variations in the pendent chain structure. Thus, when the test polymers were grouped by backbone composition, increased hydrophobicity of the pendent chain was significantly correlated with reduced fibrinogen adsorption. The following R2 coefficients within the polymer backbone groups were determined: 0.87 (diglycolates); 0.98 (glutarates); 0.73 (adipates); 0.87 (suberates); 0.67 (3-methyl-adipates). Our results demonstrate that it is possible to screen for protein-material interactions in a cost-effective fashion using a miniaturized immunofluorescence technique. Further, we demonstrate that small changes in chemical composition can significantly influence the adsorption of human fibrinogen on polymer surfaces. The lactide-based polymers were among those polymers exhibiting the highest tendency to adsorb fibrinogen. This information may be useful when polymers have to be selected for specific biomaterial applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-503
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


  • Biomaterial
  • Fibrinogen
  • Immunofluorescence assay
  • Poly(lactic acid)
  • Polyarylates
  • Polymer library
  • Protein adsorption
  • Rapid screening


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