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Adsorption of the rhNGF Protein on Polypropylene with Different Grades of Copolymerization

The surface properties of drug containers should reduce the adsorption of the drug and avoid packaging surface/drug interactions, especially in the case of biologically-derived products. Here, we developed a multi-technique approach that combined Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Contact Angle (CA), Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), and X-ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS) to investigate the interactions of rhNGF on different pharma grade polymeric materials. Polypropylene (PP)/polyethylene (PE) copolymers and PP homopolymers, both as spin-coated films and injected molded samples, were evaluated for their degree of crystallinity and adsorption of protein. Our analyses showed that copolymers are characterized by a lower degree of crystallinity and lower roughness compared to PP homopolymers. In line with this, PP/PE copolymers also show higher contact angle values, indicating a lower surface wettability for the rhNGF solution on copolymers than PP homopolymers. Thus, we demonstrated that the chemical composition of the polymeric material and, in turn, its surface roughness determine the interaction with the protein and identified that copolymers may offer an advantage in terms of protein interaction/adsorption. The combined QCM-D and XPS data indicated that protein adsorption is a self-limiting process that passivates the surface after the deposition of roughly one molecular layer, preventing any further protein adsorption in the long term.

Publication date: 03/03/2023

Author: Paolo Canepa

Reference: doi: 10.3390/ma16052076

MDPI (materials)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.