Material- and feature-dependent effects on cell adhesion to micro injection moulded medical polymers

Seong Ying Choi, Olivier Habimana, Peter Flood, Emmanuel G. Reynaud, Brian J. Rodriguez, Nan Zhang, Eoin Casey, Michael D. Gilchrist*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Two polymers, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and cyclic olefin copolymer (COC), containing a range of nano- to micron- roughness surfaces (Ra 0.01, 0.1, 0.4, 1.0, 2.0, 3.2 and 5.0 μm) were fabricated using electrical discharge machining (EDM) and replicated using micro injection moulding (μIM). Polymer samples were characterized using optical profilometry, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and water surface contact angle. Cell adhesion tests were carried out using bacterial Pseudomonas fluorescens and mammalian Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells to determine the effect of surface hydrophobicity, surface roughness and stiffness. It is found that there are features which gave insignificant differences (feature-dependent effect) in cell adhesion, albeit a significant difference in the physicochemical properties (material-dependent effect) of substrata. In bacterial cell adhesion, the strongest feature-dependence is found at Ra 0.4 μm surfaces, with material-dependent effects strongest at Ra 0.01 μm. Ra 0.1 μm surfaces exhibited strongest feature-dependent effects and Ra 5.0 μm has strongest material-dependent effects on mammalian cell adhesion. Bacterial cell adhesion is found to be favourable to hydrophobic surfaces (COC), with the lowest adhesion at Ra 0.4 μm for both materials. Mammalian cell adhesion is lowest in Ra 0.1 μm and highest in Ra 1.0 μm, and generally favours hydrophilic surfaces (PMMA). These findings can be used as a basis for developing medical implants or microfluidic devices using micro injection moulding for diagnostic purposes, by tuning the cell adhesion on different areas containing different surface roughnesses on the diagnostic microfluidic devices or medical implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclic olefin copolymer (COC)
  • Interface
  • Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells
  • Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Surface topography


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