3D Conducting Polymer Platforms for Electrical Control of Protein Conformation and Cellular Functions

J Mater Chem B. 2015 Jul 7;3(25):5040-5048. doi: 10.1039/C5TB00390C.


We report the fabrication of three dimensional (3D) macroporous scaffolds made from poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) via an ice-templating method. The scaffolds offer tunable pore size and morphology, and are electrochemically active. When a potential is applied to the scaffolds, reversible changes take place in their electrical doping state, which in turn enables precise control over the conformation of adsorbed proteins (e.g., fibronectin). Additionally, the scaffolds support the growth of mouse fibroblasts (3T3-L1) for 7 days, and are able to electrically control cell adhesion and pro-angiogenic capability. These 3D matrix-mimicking platforms offer precise control of protein conformation and major cell functions, over large volumes and long cell culture times. As such, they represent a new tool for biological research with many potential applications in bioelectronics, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.