Effect of end segment on physicochemical properties and platelet compatibility of poly(propylene glycol)-initiated poly(methyl methacrylate)

It is well known that polyether-based copolymers have good blood compatibility, although many mechanisms have been proposed to explain their favorable performance. Our objective in carrying out the present study was to obtain a better understanding of the effect of the (poly)ether segment on blood compatibility. Therefore, we synthesized poly(propylene glycol) (PPG)-based initiators for atom transfer polymerization, where the number of propylene glycol (PG) units in the PPG (Pn(PG) was varied from 1 to 94. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) was polymerized using the initiators, resulting in the formation of polyMMAs with a PG-based ether part at the polymer terminal. We mainly investigated the effects of Pn(PG) on the surface properties and platelet compatibility of the PPG-polyMMA. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and surface contact angle (CA) analysis revealed the exposure of the PG units at the surface of the polymer. The platelet compatibility of the polymers was improved compared with a commercial polyMMA, even when Pn(PG) = 1. These results suggest that PG units have an important influence on favorable blood compatibility, regardless of the Pn(PG) value. We also investigated protein adsorption behavior in terms of the amount and deformation of fibrinogen adsorbed on the polymer surface.