Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Molecular simulation of fibronectin adsorption onto polyurethane surfaces.

PMID 22856639


Poly(ethylene glycol)-based polyurethanes have been widely used in biomedical applications; however, they are prone to swelling. A natural polyol, castor oil, can be incorporated into these polyurethanes to control the degree of the swelling, which alters mechanical properties and protein adsorption characteristic of the polymers. In this work, we modeled poly(ethylene glycol) and castor oil copolymers of hexamethylene diisocyanate-based polyurethanes (PEG-HDI and CO-HDI, respectively) and compared their mechanisms for fibronectin adsorption using molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics simulations. Results showed that the interplay between the hydrophobic residues concentrated at the N-terminal end of the protein, the surface roughness, and the hydrophilicity of the polymer surface determine the overall protein adsorption affinity. Incorporating explicit water molecules in the simulations results in higher affinity for fibronectin adsorption to more hydrophobic surface of CO-HDI surfaces, emphasizing the role that water molecules play during adsorption. We also observed that the strain energies that are indicative of flexibility and consequently entropy are significantly affected by the changes in the patterns of β-sheet formation/breaking. Our study lends supports to the view that while castor oil controls the degree of swelling, it increases the adsorption of fibronectin to a limited extent due to the interplay between its hydrophobicity and its surface roughness, which needs to be taken into account during the design of polyurethane-based biomaterials.