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Rat embryonic liver cell expansion and differentiation on NH3 plasma-grafted PEEK-WC-PU membranes

: Pavlica, S.; Piscioneri, A.; Peinemann, F.; Keller, M.; Milosevic, J.; Staeudte, A.; Heilmann, A.; Schulz-Siegmund, M.; Laera, S.; Favia, P.; Bartolo, L. de; Bader, A.


Biomaterials 30 (2009), Nr.33, S.6514-6521
ISSN: 0142-9612
ISSN: 1878-5905
Fraunhofer IWM ()

Biomaterials can potentially influence stem and progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation in both a positive and a negative way. Herein, we report on the expansion and differentiation of rat embryonic (E17) liver (RLC-18) cells on new bioactive membrane made of PEEK-WC-PU, whose surface was grafted with nitrogen functionalities by means of NH3 glow discharges. The performance of the developed membrane was evaluated by analyzing the expression of the liver specific functions of cells cultured in a 6-well gas-permeable bioreactor. It was found that native and NH3 plasma-grafted PEEK-WC-PU membranes enabled expansion of liver cells in the bioreactor. Liver embryonic cells on the membranes exhibited higher functional activities compared to those cultured on conventional culture dishes as demonstrated by higher albumin and urea production. They showed gene expression of alpha-fetoprotein and albumin in a time-dependent manner of the hepatic differentiation process. LDH assay and SEM analyses revealed that a high number of viable liver stem cells attached to the membranes. Unexpectedly, liver progenitors cultured on membranes had higher telomerase activity than ones in the plates, preventing cell senescence. Thus, membranes are able to sustain in vitro the same in vivo liver functions and to allow the expansion of progenitor cells.