Electronic Control of Cell Cultures Using Conjugated Polymer Surfaces
Sammanfattning: In the field of bioelectronics various electronic materials and devices are used in combination with biological systems in order to create novel applications within cell biology and medicine. A famous example of a successful bioelectronics application is the pacemaker. Metals are the most common electrical conductors, whereas polymers are generally considered being insulators. However, in the late 1970s it was shown that a special class of polymers with conjugated double bonds, could in fact, after some chemical modifications, conduct electricity. This was the start of the research field known as conducting polymers, and then later on organic electronics, a research area that has grown rapidly during the last decades. Conjugated polymers are also suitable to interact and interface with cells and tissues, as they are generally soft, flexible and biocompatible. In addition, their chemical properties can be tailor-made through synthesis to fit biological requirements and functions. During the last years applications using organic bioelectronics have become numerous.This thesis describes applications based on different conjugated polymers aiming to stimulate and control cell cultures. When culturing cells it is of interest to be able to control events such as adhesion, spreading, proliferation, differentiation and detachment. First, the impact of different polymer compositions and redox states on the adhesion of bacteria and subsequent biofilm formation was investigated. Similar polymer electrodes were also used to steer differentiation of neural stem cells, through changes in the surface exposure of a relevant biomolecule. Controlled delivery of molecules was achieved by coating nanoporous membranes with polymers that swell and contract when changing the redox state. Finally, electronic control over cell detachment using a water-soluble polymer was achieved. When applying a positive potential to this polymer, it swells, cracks and finally detaches, taking the cells that was cultured on top along with it. Together, the work and results presented in this thesis demonstrate a versatile conjugated polymer technology to achieve electronic control of the different growth stages of cell cultures as well as cellular functions.
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