Cellular responses to potential biomaterials

  • Stuart M. Davies

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this study was to systematically investigate the factors considered to be responsible for anchorage-dependent cell behaviour to determine which, if any, of these factors exerts greater influence. An efficient means of doing so is the in vitro fibroblast cell culture model. The interaction of fibroblasts with novel substrata gives information about how a biological system reacts to a foreign material. The may ultimately lead to the development of improved biomaterials. This interdisciplinary study combines the elements of surface characterisation and biological testing to determine the nature of the biomaterial/host interface. Polarity and surface charge were found to have an important influence on fibroblast adhesion to hydrogel polymers, by virtue of their water-structuring effects. The same factors were found to affect cell adhesion on undegraded PHB-HV copolymers and their blends with polysaccharides. On degraded PHB-HV copolymers, the degradation process itself played the greatest role in influencing cell response. Increasing surface charge and mechanical instability in these polymers inhibited cell adhesion. Based on the observations of hydrogels and PHB-copolymers a novel material, gel-spun PHB was designed for use as a wound scaffold. In vitro tests using human and mammalian fibroblasts accentuated the importance of polarity and surface charge in determining cellular response.
The overall view of cellular behaviour on a broad spectrum of materials highlighted the effects that polarity and surface charge have on water-structuring, and how this affects interfacial conversion. In degradable systems, mechanical stability also plays an inportant role in determining anchorage-dependent cell behaviour.
Date of AwardOct 1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • cell adhesion
  • hydrogel
  • polyhydroxybutyrate
  • wound healing

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