This paper reports on a novel application of an amphoteric water-soluble polyamidoamine named AGMA1 bearing 4-butylguanidine pendants. AGMA1 is an amphoteric, prevailingly cationic polyelectrolyte with isoelectric point of about 10. At pH 7.4 it is zwitterionic with an average of 0.55 excess positive charges per unit, notwithstanding it is highly biocompatible. In this work, it was found that AGMA1 surface-adsorbed on cell culturing coverslips exhibits excellent properties as adhesion and proliferation promoter of primary brain cells such as microglia, as well as of hippocampal neurons and astrocytes. Microglia cells cultured on AGMA1-coated coverslips substrate displayed the typical resting, ramified morphology of those cultured on poly-L-lysine and poly-L-ornithine, employed as reference substrates. Mixed cultures of primary astrocytes and neuronal cells grown on AGMA1- and poly-L-lysine coated coverslips were morphologically undistinguishable. On both substrates, neurons differentiated axon and dendrites and eventually established perfectly functional synaptic contacts. Quantitative immunocytochemical staining revealed no difference between AGMA1 and poly-L-lysine. Electrophysiological experiments allowed recording neuron spontaneous activity on AGMA1. In addition, cell cultures on both AGMA1 and PLL displayed comparable excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, demonstrating that the synaptic contacts formed were fully functional.
Keywords: adhesion promoters; cell culturing; guanidine-containing polyamidoamine; polyamidoamines; primary brain cells.