Many biological polyelectrolytes are capable of undergoing a fluid-fluid phase separation known as complex coacervation. Coacervates were prepared using hyaluronic acid (HA) and a recombinant fusion protein consisting of mussel adhesive motifs and the RGD peptide (fp-151-RGD). The low interfacial energy of the coacervate was exploited to coat titanium (Ti), a metal widely used in implant materials. The coacervate effectively distributed both HA and fp-151-RGD over the Ti surfaces and enhanced osteoblast proliferation. Approximately half of total fp-151-RGD and HA in the solution transferred to the titanium surface within 2h. Titanium coated with coacervates having high residual negative surface charge showed the highest cell proliferation of preosteoblast cells (MC-3T3) compared to the treatments tested. Indeed, MC-3T3 cells on complex coacervate coated titanium foils exhibited over 5 times greater cell proliferation than bare, HA coated or fp-151-RGD coated titanium.
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