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Biopolymer - Designer Interfaces between Biological and Artificial Systems

Tsukuba, Japan, Dec 12, 2012 - (JCN Newswire) - In their recently published review article in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, Yasuhiko Iwasaki at Kansai University and Kazuhiko Ishihara at the University of Tokyo describe how developments in synthesis techniques have liberated the polymer MPC's potential for a huge range of medical and biological applications.

A polymer inspired by the lipids in cell membranes is proving an invaluable biomaterial. Like the cell membrane, the polymer 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) can provide a surface for biological reactions to take place, but it can also suppress unfavourable processes.

In their recently published review article Yasuhiko Iwasaki at Kansai University and Kazuhiko Ishihara at the University of Tokyo in Japan describe how developments in synthesis techniques by showing that the 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) have liberated the polymer's potential for a huge range of medical and biological applications.

In fact the polymers were already attracting interest in the early 1970s. However until more facile synthesis techniques were developed investigations were limited and the polymer was little understood. By 1999 MPC polymers were being produced on an industrial scale, allowing more substantial studies. MPC is easily polymerized in a range of architectures. The chemical can suppress reactions such as protein adsorption and cell adhesion and has a high and readily adjustable solubility in water. These versatile properties lend MPC polymers to a range of applications.

The authors also describe methods for generating the polymer for effective use in non-fouling coatings. Formed into poly(MPC) brush structures with specified chain architectures, they can also be used as surfaces for controlling cell functions. In addition, the researchers explain how surface modifications with MPC polymers are effective in improving blood compatibility. The polymers can suppress protein adsorption, platelet adhesion, and platelet activation at blood-contacting surfaces and they can also be solute permeable. As such they are well suited for coating cardiovascular applications such as stents, cardiopulmonary bypasses, and ventricular assist devices.

Based on the fact that "MPC and various kinds of MPC polymers are now available commercially worldwide, and many medical devices treated with MPC polymers are used in clinics," they underline how far research into applications of MPC has advanced, and indicate how many possibilities remain for exploiting the chemical further.

Related information

Yasuhiko Iwasaki(1) and Kazuhiko Ishihara(2) Cell membrane-inspired phospholipid polymers for developing medical devices with excellent biointerfaces, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Vol. 13 (2012) p. 064101 (doi:10.1088/1468-6996/13/6/064101).

Authors Affiliation

(1) Department of Chemistry and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry, Materials and Bioengineering, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564-8680, Japan
*E-mail address:

(2) Department of Materials Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
*E-mail address:

Media contacts:
Mikiko Tanifuji
National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan
Tel. +81-(0)29-859-2494

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for National Institute for Materials Science.

Source: National Institute for Materials Science

Copyright 2012 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved.

About JCN Newswire
Copyright 2008 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of JCN Newswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of JCN Newswire. JCN Newswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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