Polypropylene mesh for hernia repair with controllable cell adhesion/de-adhesion properties†
Herein, a versatile bilayer system, composed by a polypropylene (PP) mesh and a covalently bonded poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogel, is reported. The cell adhesion mechanism was successfully modulated by controlling the architecture of the hydrogel in terms of duration of PNIPAAm grafting time, crosslinker content, and temperature of material exposure in PBS solutions (below and above the LCST of PNIPAAm). The best in vitro results with fibroblast (COS-1) and epithelial (MCF-7) cells was obtained with a mesh modified with a porous iPP-g-PNIPAAm bilayer system, prepared via PNIPAAm grafting for 2 h at the lowest N,N′-methylene bis(acrylamide) (MBA) concentration (1 mM). Under these conditions, the detachment of the fibroblast-like cells was 50% lower than that of the control, after 7 days of cell incubation, which represents a high de-adhesion of cells in a short period. Moreover, the whole system showed excellent stability in dry or wet media, proving that the thermosensitive hydrogel was well adhered to the polymer surface, after PP fibre activation by cold plasma. This study provides new insights on the development of anti-adherent meshes for abdominal hernia repair.