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Plasma coupled to chemical grafting: collagen functionalization for nanomedicine applications

S. Panseri, L. Cipolla, L. Russo, S. Zanini, C. Riccardi, A. Russo, M. Marcacci, A. Fiorani, C. Gualandi, M.L. Focarete, F. Nicotra
University of Bologna, IT

Keywords: collagen functionalization, cartilage tissue engineering, plasma tecnhique, nanomedicine


Articular cartilage exhibits a well-ordered organization with an extracellular matrix arranged as a network of collagen fibers and proteoglycans that allow cell adhesion, mechanical support, transduction of chemical and mechanical signals from the surrounding tissue to the cells. Electrospun materials are considered highly promising scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering given their specific nanofibrous morphology that resembles the fibrous component of tissue extracellular matrix. Collagen is universally applied as biomaterial in regenerative medicine because of its unique biocompatibility, and structural property. Robust techniques for surface “biodecoration” are currently required and the appropriate surface functionalization still remains a critical variable for the optimal performance of a wide range of biomaterials. Plasma processes allow to tune surface properties of materials with negligible effect on their bulk. The need of improving cell/surface interaction has decisively introduced plasma techniques in the field of biomaterials. In the present work, we investigated the use of a plasma modification strategy enabling the introduction of carboxylic and amino groups on the surface of collagen films and electrospun nanofibrous collagen scaffolds.
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