Modulating cell response on cellulose surfaces; tunable attachment and scaffold mechanics

James C. Courtenay, Christoph Deneke, Evandro M. Lanzoni, Carlos A. Costa, Yongho Bae, Janet L. Scott, Ram I. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (SciVal)


Combining surface chemical modification of cellulose to introduce positively charged trimethylammonium groups by reaction with glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride (GTMAC) allowed for direct attachment of mammalian MG-63 cells, without addition of protein modifiers, or ligands. Very small increases in the surface charge resulted in significant increases in cell attachment: at a degree of substitution (DS) of only 1.4%, MG-63 cell attachment was > 90% compared to tissue culture plastic, whereas minimal attachment occurred on unmodified cellulose. Cell attachment plateaued above DS of ca. 1.85% reflecting a similar trend in surface charge, as determined from ζ-potential measurements and capacitance coupling (electric force microscopy). Cellulose film stiffness was modulated by cross linking with glyoxal (0.3–2.6% degree of crosslinking) to produce a range of materials with surface shear moduli from 76 to 448 kPa (measured using atomic force microscopy). Cell morphology on these materials could be regulated by tuning the stiffness of the scaffolds. Thus, we report tailored functionalised biomaterials based on cationic cellulose that can be tuned through surface reaction and glyoxal crosslinkin+g, to influence the attachment and morphology of cells. These scaffolds are the first steps towards materials designed to support cells and to regulate cell morphology on implanted biomaterials using only scaffold and cells, i.e. without added adhesion promoters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Early online date19 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2017


  • Cell response
  • Cellulose
  • Chemical modification
  • Simple manufacture
  • Tunable tissue scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics


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