Polyurethanes as potential substrates for sub-retinal retinal pigment epithelial cell transplantation

J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2005 Dec;16(12):1087-92. doi: 10.1007/s10856-005-4710-y.


Transplantation of cultured retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells under the failing macular is a potential treatment for age related macular degeneration. An important step in the development of this procedure is the identification of a suitable membrane on which to grow and transplant the cells. This paper evaluates the potential of using polyurethanes in this application since they possess several of the required properties, such as, flexibility, robustness, biostability and good biocompatiblilty although their hydrophobicity can limit cell adhesion. Three commercially available polyether urethanes (Pellethane, Tecoflex and Zytar) were evaluated in terms of their wettability using dynamic contact angle analysis and their ability to support a monolayer of functioning RPE cells (ARPE-19) . Furthermore Pellethane and Tecoflex were treated with a simple air plasma treatment and analysed as above. In the "as received condition" only a few RPE cells attached to the Pellethane and Tecoflex and remained clumped. RPE cells grew to confluence on the Zytar substrate by 7 days without further surface modification. Air gas plasma treatment of both Pellethane and Tecoflex increased the wettability of the surfaces and this resulted in the growth of a monolayer of well-spread RPE cells on both materials. Morphologically these cells grew with a normal 'cobblestone' phenotype. These results demonstrate the potential of these polyurethanes for this application.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / cytology*
  • Polyurethanes*


  • Polyurethanes