Chemistry

Made to Resist

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Science  18 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5631, pp. 279
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5631.279e

Polyethylene glycol is frequently used in biomedical applications. Proteins do not stick to it, but it is not biodegradable and can only be functionalized at the ends of the linear polymer chains. Previous studies have identified hydrophilicity, the ability to accept but not donate hydrogen bonds, and overall charge neutrality as key performance characteristics; surfaces covered with carbohydrates have been shown to resist protein adsorption.

Metzke et al. describe the properties of a carbohydrate-derived side chain polyether. Surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy of polymer films was used to measure retention of fibrinogen and lysozyme, representing sticky serum proteins and electrostatically adsorbed proteins, respectively. In both cases, the polymer film behaved comparably to tri(ethylene glycol) monolayers, and the ester linkage in the polymer backbone may also render it biodegradable. — MSL

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 7761 (2003).

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