Grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is a common strategy for reducing nonspecific interactions of surfaces with proteins. We have used grafting at "cloud point" solution conditions that ensures maximum grafting density of linear methoxy terminated PEG-aldehyde (mPEG-ald, M-W = 5000 and 30000). In an alternative approach, surfaces were modified with layers prepared from isocyanate terminated, star shaped poly(ethylene glycol-stat-propylene glycol) prepolymers (80% ethylene glycol, six arms, M. = 3000, 12 000, and 18 000; this compound will be referred to as "Star PEG" in the text). Due to the highly reactive endgroups, these molecules form a dense network on the substrate with a high polymer surface coverage. The two systems were compared regarding their ability to prevent unspecific adsorption of insulin and lysozyme. The layers were analyzed by ellipsometry, contact angle measurements, and XPS. Protein adsorption was monitored by surface MALDI-TOF MS and fluorescence microscopy. No protein adsorption could be detected on Star PEG coatings and on mPEG-ald 5000, whereas mPEG-ald 30 000 could only prevent adsorption of lysozyme but not of the smaller insulin.
Biomacromolecules, 2005, Vol 6, Issue 2, p. 956-962