Differential support of cell adhesion and growth by copolymers of polyurethane with hyaluronic acid

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2013 Oct;101(10):2870-82. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34597. Epub 2013 Mar 18.


Mechanical mismatch, along with inadequate hemocompatibility and endothelialization, contribute to the high failure rate of many synthetic vascular grafts. However, due to the dueling nature of these requirements (i.e., inhibiting platelet adhesion frequently means inhibiting endothelial cell (EC) adhesion), the creation of materials that simultaneously satisfy the mechanical and biological design criteria needed for small diameter vascular grafts has been an elusive goal. In this work, we demonstrate the ability of polyurethane (PU) containing hyaluronic acid (HA) in its backbone structure to reduce protein adsorption, platelet and bacterial adhesion, and fibroblast and macrophage proliferation while allowing the retention of both ECs and vascular-appropriate mechanics. Irrespective of HA molecular weight (MW), PU-HA materials selectively supported the growth of ECs relative to fibroblasts, reduced platelet adhesion, and performed comparably to negative controls with respect to bactericidal activity. The extent of EC growth on the PU-HA materials did differ with HA MW, with a lower HA MW yielding improved EC growth in both two-dimensional (2-D) films and 3-D electrospun fibrous scaffolds. These findings illustrate that HA incorporated into the backbone of a synthetic polymer structure can retain bioactivity, with subtle differences in HA MW significantly impacting the physical and biological properties of the biomaterial; in particular, PU modified with low-MW HA appears promising for vascular graft applications.

Keywords: electrospinning; endothelialization; hemocompatibility; hyaluronic acid; polyurethane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Communication / drug effects
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / cytology*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Materials Testing
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Polyurethanes / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry
  • U937 Cells


  • Polyurethanes
  • Proteins
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • DNA