Excessive fibroblast adhesion and proliferation on the surface of medical implants (such as catheters, endotracheal tubes, intraocular lenses, etc) can lead to major postsurgical complications. This study showed that when coated on tissue culture polystyrene, lubricin, a nanostructured mucinous glycoprotein found in the synovial fluid of joints, decreased fibroblast density for up to 2 days of culture compared to controls treated with phosphate buffered saline (PBS). When examining why, similar antifibroblast density results were found when coating tissue culture polystyrene with bovine submaxillary mucin (BSM), an even smaller protein closely related to the central subregion of lubricin. Additionally, results from this study demonstrated that in contrast to BSM or controls (PBS-coated and non-coated samples), lubricin was better at preserving the health of nonadherent or loosely adherent fibroblasts; fibroblasts that did not adhere or loosely adhered on the lubricin-coated tissue culture polystyrene adhered and proliferated well for up to an additional day when they were reseeded on uncoated tissue culture polystyrene. In summary, this study provides evidence for the promise of nanostructured lubricin (and to a lesser extent BSM) to inhibit fibroblast adhesion and growth when coated on medical devices; lubricin should be further explored for numerous medical device applications.
Keywords: antiadhesive; fibroblasts; lubricin; mucin.