Surface properties and biocompatibility of solvent-cast poly[Σ-caprolactone] films

Tang, Z.G. and Black, R.A. and Curran, J.M. and Hunt, J.A. and Rhodes, N.P. and Williams, D.F. (2004) Surface properties and biocompatibility of solvent-cast poly[Σ-caprolactone] films. Biomaterials, 25 (19). pp. 4741-4748. ISSN 0142-9612 (

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Poly(Σ-caprolactone) (PCL) was dissolved in four solvent systems, chloroform, tetrahydrofuran, acetone and ethyl acetate, and cast onto glass Petri dishes. The surface properties of the resulting films were investigated. The extent to which their properties were determined by the solvent used in each case was quantified in terms of contact angle, surface morphology, attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), and the adhesion and proliferation of fibroblasts by direct contact. The surface of the PCL film in contact with glass was denoted the SG surface, and the other, which was exposed to the gas phase, a mixture of air and residual solvent vapour, was denoted the SA surface. In the case of hydrophobic solvent systems, the advancing contact angle of the SG surface was always lower than that of the SA surface. With hydrophilic solvent systems, on the other hand, the advancing contact angle of the SG film surface was higher when the contact angle of the Petri dish was higher than that of the gaseous mixture of the air and solvent vapour, otherwise it was lower or equal to that of the surface on which it was cast. The surface morphology was dictated by the solubility of PCL in the respective solvent systems: high dissolution solvents such as chloroform and tetrahydrofuran produced films that comprised PCL aggregates, the particles being larger in the case of chloroform, whereas the less efficient solvents (acetone and ethyl acetate) resulted in a filamentous structure. The ATR-FTIR results confirmed that the chemistry of the SA surfaces differed according to the solvent system used. Preliminary cell culture experiments carried out with the PCL films established that murine (L929) fibroblasts grew well on all surfaces regardless of the solvent used, although the rates of adhesion and proliferation were not as great as on tissue culture plastic controls. Of all the surfaces examined in this study, the cells favoured the SG aspect of ethyl acetate cast PCL films, the surface of which had the finest pore size and relatively low contact angle.