Bioinspired by cell membranes: functional polymeric materials for biomedical applications
The delicate compositions, structures, and functions of natural cell membranes provide ideal prototypes for the development of functional biomedical polymers. First, the cell membranes, e.g., the red blood cell membrane, can be directly utilized to coat the functional polymeric materials, achieving an excellent biocompatibility and long-term circulation in blood. Second, the lipids (particularly the phospholipids) and glycosylated molecules on the cell membranes help the design of anti-fouling and biocompatible biomaterials, which may also have high affinities to some specific molecules after a secondary modification. An interesting choline phosphate with the reverse order of phosphate choline in the cell membrane will be specifically discussed here. Third, the transmembrane/peripheral proteins and the channel structure of the cell membrane can also be used as prototypes of biomaterials with various functions, such as the recognition, separation, immobilization, and capture of biomolecules. This review describes such cell membrane bioinspired functional polymers for a variety of biomedical applications including drug/gene delivery, tissue engineering, implant materials, and molecular recognition and diagnosis. The structure–function relationships of these polymeric materials are discussed in detail. Finally, the challenges associated with these cell membrane bioinspired polymeric biomaterials are summarized.