Effects of Grafting Density and Film Thickness on the Adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis to Poly(2-hydroxy ethyl methacrylate) and Poly(poly(ethylene glycol)methacrylate) Brushes
Thin polymer films that prevent the adhesion of bacteria are of interest as coatings for the development of infection-resistant biomaterials. This study investigates the influence of grafting density and film thickness on the adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis to poly(poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate) (PPEGMA) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) brushes prepared via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP). These brushes are compared with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) brushes, which are obtained by grafting PEG onto an epoxide-modified substrate. Except for very low grafting densities (rho = 1%), crystal violet staining experiments show that the PHEMA and PPEGMA brushes are equally effective as the PEG-modified surfaces in preventing S. epidermis adhesion and do not reveal any significant variations as a function of film thickness or grafting density. These results indicate that brushes generated by SI-ATRP are an attractive alternative to grafted-onto PEG films for the preparation of surface coatings that resist bacterial adhesion.