Publication Details

Zhang, H., Molino, P. J., Wallace, G. G. & Higgins, M. J. (2015). Quantifying molecular-level cell adhesion on electroactive conducting polymers using electrochemical-single cell force spectroscopy. Scientific Reports, 5 1-13.


Single Cell Force Spectroscopy was combined with Electrochemical-AFM to quantify the adhesion between live single cells and conducting polymers whilst simultaneously applying a voltage to electrically switch the polymer from oxidized to reduced states. The cell-conducting polymer adhesion represents the non-specific interaction between cell surface glycocalyx molecules and polymer groups such as sulfonate and dodecylbenzene groups, which rearrange their orientation during electrical switching. Single cell adhesion significantly increases as the polymer is switched from an oxidized to fully reduced state, indicating stronger cell binding to sulfonate groups as opposed to hydrophobic groups. This increase in single cell adhesion is concomitant with an increase in surface hydrophilicity and uptake of cell media, driven by cation movement, into the polymer film during electrochemical reduction. Binding forces between the glycocalyx and polymer surface are indicative of molecular-level interactions and during electrical stimulation there is a decrease in both the binding force and stiffness of the adhesive bonds. The study provides insight into the effects of electrochemical switching on cell adhesion at the cell-conducting polymer interface and is more broadly applicable to elucidating the binding of cell adhesion molecules in the presence of electrical fields and directly at electrode interfaces.



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