In our recent work, PE was treated by an Ar+ plasma discharge and then grafted with biologically active polyethylene glycol in order to enhance adhesion and proliferation of mouse fibroblast (L929). The surface properties of pristine PE and its grafted counterparts were studied by goniometry (surface wettability). Furthermore, Atomic Force Microscopy was used to determine the surface morphology and roughness. The biological response of the L929 cell lines seeded on untreated and plasma treated PE matrices was quantified in terms of the cell adhesion, density, and metabolic activity.
Plasma treatment leads to the ablation of the polymer surface layers. Plasma treatment and subsequent poly(ethylene glycol) grafting lead to dramatic changes in the polymer surface morphology and roughness. Biological tests, performed in vitro, show increased adhesion and proliferation of cells on modified polymers. Grafting with poly(ethylene glycol) increases cell proliferation compared to plasma treatment.