Complementary Supramolecular Functionalization Enhances Antifouling Surfaces: A Ureidopyrimidinone-Functionalized Phosphorylcholine Polymer

Antonio J. Feliciano, Eduardo Soares, Anton W. Bosman, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Lorenzo Moroni, Vanessa L. S. LaPointe, and Matthew B. Baker

Published: 2023

Fibrosis of implants remains a significant challenge in the use of biomedical devices and tissue engineering materials. Antifouling coatings, including synthetic zwitterionic coatings, have been developed to prevent fouling and cell adhesion to several implantable biomaterials. While many of these coatings need covalent attachment, a conceptually simpler approach is to use a spontaneous self-assembly event to anchor the coating to a surface. This could simplify material processing through highly specific molecular recognition. Herein, we investigate the ability to utilize directional supramolecular interactions to anchor an antifouling coating to a polymer surface containing a complementary supramolecular unit. A library of controlled copolymerization of ureidopyrimidinone methacrylate (UPyMA) and 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) was prepared and their UPy composition was assessed. The MPC-UPy copolymers were characterized by 1H NMR, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and found to exhibit similar mol % of UPy as compared to feed ratios and low dispersities. The copolymers were then coated on an UPy elastomer and the surfaces were assessed for hydrophilicity, protein absorption, and cell adhesion. By challenging the coatings, we found that the antifouling properties of the MPC-UPy copolymers with more UPy mol % lasted longer than the MPC homopolymer or low UPy mol % copolymers. As a result, the bioantifouling nature could be tuned to exhibit spatio-temporal control, namely, the longevity of a coating increased with UPy composition. In addition, these coatings showed nontoxicity and biocompatibility, indicating their potential use in biomaterials as antifouling coatings. Surface modification employing supramolecular interactions provided an approach that merges the simplicity and scalability of nonspecific coating methodology with the specific anchoring capacity found when using conventional covalent grafting with longevity that could be engineered by the supramolecular composition itself.

Full Access Link: ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering