In vitro interactions of biomedical polyurethanes with macrophages and bacterial cells

Livia Visai, Simonetta Rindi, Pietro Speziale, Paola Petrini, Silvia Farè, M. Cristina Tanzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three commercial medical-grade polyurethanes (PUs), a poly-ether-urethane (Pellethane), and two poly-carbonate-urethanes, the one aromatic (Bionate) and the other aliphatic (Chronoflex), were tested for macrophages and bacterial cells adhesion, in the presence or absence of adhesive plasma proteins. All the experiments were carried out on PUs films obtained by solvent casting. The wettability of these films was analysed by measuring static contact angles against water. The ability of the selected PUs to adsorb human fibronectin (Fn) and fibrinogen (Fbg) was checked by ELISA with biotin-labelled proteins. All PUs were able to adsorb Fn and Fbg (Fn > Fbg). Fn adsorption was in the order: Pellethane > Chronoflex > Bionate, the highest Fbg adsorption being detected onto Bionate (Bionate > Chronoflex > Pellethane). The human macrophagic line J111, and the two main bacterial strains responsible for infection in humans (Staphylococcus aureus Newman and Staphylococcus epidermidis 14852) were incubated in turn with the three PUs, uncoated or coated with plasma proteins. No macrophage or bacterial adhesion was observed onto uncoated PUs. PUs coated with plasma, Fn or Fbg promoted bacterial adhesion (S. aureus > S. epidermidis), whereas macrophage adhered more onto PUs coated with Fn or plasma. The coating with Fbg did not promote cell adhesion. Pellethane showed the highest macrophage activation (i.e. spreading), followed, in the order, by Bionate and Chronoflex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-214
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002


  • Bacterial adhesion
  • Macrophage adhesion
  • Polyurethane
  • Protein coating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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