In previous studies, we reported that poly(2-methoxyethyl acrylate) (PMEA) exhibited excellent blood compatibility, although it has a simple chemical structure. Since then, we have been investigating the reasons for its blood compatibility. In this short review, we consider the reasons for this compatibility by comparing the structure of water in hydrated PMEA to the water structure of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) and poly(meth)acrylate analogs as reference polymers. The hydrated water in PMEA could be classified into three types; free water (or freezing water), freezing-bound water (or intermediate water), and non-freezing water (or non-freezing-bound water). We found that hydrated PMEA possessed a unique water structure, observed as cold crystallization of water in differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Cold crystallization is interpreted as ice formation at low temperature, an attribute of freezing-bound water in PMEA. The cold crystallization peak was observed for hydrated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), poly(vinyl methyl ether) (PVME), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (PMPC), poly(tetrahydrofurfuryl acrylate) (PTHFA), and newly synthesized poly(2-(2-ethoxyethoxy)ethyl acrylate), as well as various proteins and polysaccharides, which are well-known biocompatible polymers. On the other hand, cold crystallization of water was not observed in hydrated PHEMA and PMEA analogous polymers, which do not show excellent blood compatibility. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that freezing-bound water, which prevents the biocomponents from directly contacting the polymer surface or non-freezing water on the polymer surface, plays an important role in the excellent blood compatibility of PMEA.
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