Role of the cross-linking enzyme tissue transglutaminase in the biological recognition of synthetic biodegradable polymers

J Biomed Mater Res. 2001 Feb;54(2):294-304. doi: 10.1002/1097-4636(200102)54:2<294::aid-jbm17>;2-q.


The calcium-dependent cross-linking enzyme tissue transglutaminase (tTgase, type II) is a potential novel player at the cell surface, where its contribution to cell adhesion and stabilization of the extracellular matrix is becoming increasingly recognized. We investigated whether tTgase enhances the biological recognition of poly (DL lactide co-glycolide) (PLG), poly (epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL), and poly (L lactide) (PLA), biomaterials widely used in medical implants. Three cell-model systems consisting of human osteoblasts, endothelial cells (ECV-304), and Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts were utilized, in which tTgase expression was modulated by gene transfer, and the ability of cells to spread on these polymers was quantified in relation to the altered level of expressed tTGase. Results show that over-expression of tTgase in human osteoblasts positively correlated with cell spreading on PLG, while no attachment and spreading was found on PCL and PLA. Antisense silencing of tTgase in the endothelial cells led to a marked reduction of cell spreading on all polymers. The hydrophobic nature of PLC also appeared to favor endothelial cell attachment. Spreading of Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts on these biomaterials was only slightly affected by increased expression of tTgase, although cell spreading on control glass was increased. We propose that the consideration of tTgase-mediated bioactivity in novel biomaterials may improve cell attachment and promote biocompatibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Mice
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / physiology*
  • Polyesters / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyglycolic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polymers / pharmacokinetics
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Transfection
  • Transglutaminases / metabolism*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • polycaprolactone
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • poly(lactide)
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Transglutaminases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins