Biodevices used in the cardiovascular system suffer from well-known problems associated with surface-induced gas embolism and thrombosis. In order to improve the biocompatibility of these devices, biomimetic coatings show good promise. We recently synthesized a coating layer of dextran, a relatively simple and well characterized neutral polysaccharide, with the purpose of mimicking the cells' glycocalyx layer, that prevents non-specific cells-protein interactions. Systematic physical chemical characterization was performed on coatings obtained both from commonly used polydisperse dextrans and low-dispersity dextrans in the 1-100 kDalton molecular weight range.
We have combined standard surface analysis techniques, such as ellipsometry, contact angle measurements and AFM, with less traditional vibrational spectroscopy techniques in the characterization of our biomimetic coatings. FTIR, micro-FTIR and micro-Raman spectroscopies were utilized to correlate the conformational and molecular aspects of the grafted poly- and monodisperse dextran chains to their attractive biological properties.