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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 371430, 18 pages
Research Article

Adhesion, Growth, and Maturation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells on Low-Density Polyethylene Grafted with Bioactive Substances

1Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Videnska 1083, 142 20 Prague 4-Krc, Czech Republic
2Institute of Chemical Technology, Technicka 5, 166 28 Prague 6-Dejvice, Czech Republic

Received 28 August 2012; Accepted 14 February 2013

Academic Editor: Benaissa El Moualij

Copyright © 2013 Martin Parizek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The attractiveness of synthetic polymers for cell colonization can be affected by physical, chemical, and biological modification of the polymer surface. In this study, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) was treated by an Ar+ plasma discharge and then grafted with biologically active substances, namely, glycine (Gly), polyethylene glycol (PEG), bovine serum albumin (BSA), colloidal carbon particles (C), or BSA+C. All modifications increased the oxygen content, the wettability, and the surface free energy of the materials compared to the pristine LDPE, but these changes were most pronounced in LDPE with Gly or PEG, where all the three values were higher than in the only plasma-treated samples. When seeded with vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), the Gly- or PEG-grafted samples increased mainly the spreading and concentration of focal adhesion proteins talin and vinculin in these cells. LDPE grafted with BSA or BSA+C showed a similar oxygen content and similar wettability, as the samples only treated with plasma, but the nano- and submicron-scale irregularities on their surface were more pronounced and of a different shape. These samples promoted predominantly the growth, the formation of a confluent layer, and phenotypic maturation of VSMC, demonstrated by higher concentrations of contractile proteins alpha-actin and SM1 and SM2 myosins. Thus, the behavior of VSMC on LDPE can be regulated by the type of bioactive substances that are grafted.