Regulation of Epithelial Cell Morphology and Functions Approaching To More In Vivo-Like by Modifying Polyethylene Glycol on Polysulfone Membranes

>Cytocompatibility is critically important in design of biomaterials for application in tissue engineering. However, the currently well-accepted “cytocompatible” biomaterials are those which promote cells to sustain good attachment/spreading. The cells on such materials usually lack the self-assembled cell morphology and high cell functions as in vivo. In our view, biomaterials that can promote the ability of cells to self-assemble and demonstrate cell-specific functions would be cytocompatible. This paper examined the interaction of polyethylene glycol (PEG) modified polysulfone (PSf) membranes with four epithelial cell types (primary liver cells, a liver tumor cell line, and two renal tubular cell lines). Our results show that PSf membranes modified with proper PEG promoted the aggregation of both liver and renal cells, but the liver cells more easily formed aggregates than the renal tubular cells. The culture on PEG-modified PSf membranes also enhanced cell-specific functions. In particular, the cells cultured on F127 membranes with the proper PEG content mimicked the in vivo ultrastructure of liver cells or renal tubules cells and displayed the highest cell functions. Gene expression data for adhesion proteins suggest that the PEG modification impaired cell-membrane interactions and increased cell-cell interactions, thus facilitating cell self-assembly. In conclusion, PEG-modified membrane could be a cytocompatible material which regulates the morphology and functions of epithelial cells in mimicking cell performance in vivo.

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