Poly(ethyl acrylate) (PEA) induces the formation of biomimetic fibronectin (FN) (nano)networks upon simple adsorption from solutions, a process referred to as material-driven FN fibrillogenesis. The ability of PEA to organize FN has been demonstrated in 2D and 2.5D environments, but not as yet in 3D scaffolds, which incorporate three-dimensionality and chemical crosslinkers that may influence its fibrillogenic potential. In this paper we show for the first time that while three-dimensionality does not interfere with PEA-induced FN fibrillogenesis, crosslinking does, and we determined the maximum amount of crosslinker that can be added to PEA to maintain FN fibrillogenesis. For this, we synthesised 2D substrates with different amounts of crosslinker (1–10% of ethylene glycol dimethacrylate) and studied the role of crosslinking in FN organization using AFM. The glass transition temperature was seen to increase with crosslinking density and, accordingly, polymer segmental mobility was reduced. The organization of FN after adsorption (formation of FN fibrils) and the availability of the FN cell-binding domain were found to be dependent on crosslinking density. Surface mobility was identified as a key parameter for FN supramolecular organization. PEA networks with up to 2% crosslinker organize the FN in a similar way to non-crosslinked PEA. Scaffolds prepared with 2% crosslinker also had FN (nano)networks assembled on their walls, showing PEA's ability to induce FN fibrillogenesis in 3D environments as long as the amounts of crosslinker is low enough.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry