In several recent communications from these laboratories, we have described observations that thin organic layers which are rich in primary amine (R-NH2) groups are very efficient surfaces for the adhesion of mammalian cells, even for controlling the differentiation of stem cells. We prepare such deposits by plasma polymerization at low pressure (thin films designated “L-PPE:N”, for “Low-pressure Plasma Polymerized Ethylene containing Nitrogen”), at atmospheric (“High”) pressure (“H-PPE:N”), or by vacuum-ultraviolet photo-polymerization (“UV-PE:N”). More recently, we have also investigated a commercially available material, Parylene diX AM.
In the present communication we shall, first, briefly introduce literature relating to electrostatic interactions between cells, proteins, and charged surfaces. Next, we discuss the comparative results of physico-chemical characterizations of the various organic deposits mentioned above, which deliberately contain varying concentrations of nitrogen, [N], and amine groups, [NH2]. Finally, we present certain selected cell-response results that pertain to applications in orthopedic medicine; we discuss the influence of surface properties on the observed behaviors of various cell lines, with particular emphasis on possible electrostatic attractive forces due to positively charged R-NH3+ groups and negatively charged proteins and cells, respectively.