Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Mark DeCoster


Several approaches such as self-assembled monolayers and layer-by-layer assembled multilayer films are being used as tools to study the interactions of cells with biomaterials in vitro. In this study, the layer-by-layer assembly approach was used to create monolayer, bilayer, trilayer, five, ten and twenty-bilayer beds of eleven different biomaterials. The various biomaterials used were poly(styrene-sulfonate), fibronectin, poly-L-lysine, poly-D-lysine, laminin, bovine serum albumin, chondroitin sulfate, poly(ethyleneimine), polyethylene glycol amine, collagen and poly(dimethyldiallyl-ammonium chloride) with unmodified tissue-culture polystyrene as standard control. Three different cell lines—primary bovine articular chondrocytes, and two secondary cell lines, human chondrosarcoma cells and canine chondrocytes were used in these studies. Chondrocyte morphology and attachment, viability, proliferation, and functionality were determined using bright field microscopy, the Live/Dead viability assay, MTT assay, and immunocytochemistry, respectively.

Atomic force microscopy of the nanofilms indicated an increase in surface roughness with increasing number of layers. The most important observations from the studies on primary bovine articular chondrocytes were that these cells exhibited increasing viability and cell metabolic activity with increasing number of bilayers. The increase in viability was more pronounced than the increase in cell metabolic activity. Also, bovine chondrocytes on bilayers of poly(dimethyldiallyl-ammonium chloride, poly-L-lysine, poly(styrene-sulfonate), and bovine serum albumin were substantially bigger in size and well-attached when compared to the cells grown on monolayer and trilayers. Lactate dehydrogenase assay performed on chondrosarcoma cells grown on 5- and 10-bilayer multilayer beds indicated that the 10-bilayer beds had reduced cytotoxicity compared to the 5-bilayer beds. MTT assay performed on canine chondrocytes grown on 5-, 10-, and 20-bilayer nanofilm beds revealed increasing cell metabolic activity for BSA with increasing bilayers.

Micropatterned multilayer beds having poly-L-lysine, poly-D-lysine, laminin poly(dimethyldiallyl-ammonium chloride) and poly(ethyleneimine) as the terminating layers were fabricated using the Layer-by-layer Lift-off (LbL-LO) method that combines photolithography and LbL self-assembly. Most importantly, micropatterned co-culture platforms consisting of anti-CD 44 rat monoclonal and anti-rat osteopontin (MPIIIB101) antibodies were constructed using the LbL-LO method for the first time. These co-culture platforms have several applications especially for studies of stem and progenitor cells. Co-culture platforms exhibiting spatiotempora-based differentiation can be built with LbL-LO for the differentiation of stem cells into the desired cell lineage.