Protein Adsorption to Biomaterials

  • David Richard Schmidt
  • Heather Waldeck
  • Weiyuan John Kao


Within milliseconds after biomaterials come in contact with a biological fluid such as blood, proteins begin to adhere to the surface through a process known as protein adsorption. Protein adsorption is initially strongly influenced by protein diffusion, but protein affinity for the surface becomes critically important and, over time, higher-affinity proteins can be replaced by lower-affinity proteins in a dynamic process. By the time cells arrive, the material surface has already been coated in a monolayer of proteins; hence, the host cells do not “see” the material but “see” instead a dynamic layer of proteins. Multiple parameters influence protein adsorption to a substrate surface including the chemical and physical properties of both the protein and the material surface, as well as the presence of other proteins on the surface.

Many methods have been developed in the last several decades to study protein adsorption to biomaterial surfaces. These new techniques provide information about the type and conformation of adsorbed proteins from multicomponent solutions such as blood serum. Nanomaterials as well as functional group immobilization and novel, stimuli-sensitive polymer surfaces have provided new alternatives for the study and modulation of protein adsorption, with insight into the mechanisms underlying protein adsorption and subsequent cell adhesion. However, a molecular-level understanding of all aspects of protein adsorption is still incomplete. The future of this field, however, is bright as new technologies offer great promise for further elucidation of protein adsorption.


Material Surface Protein Adsorption Tissue Culture Polystyrene Glycol Dimethyl Ether Adsorbed Protein Layer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Atomic force microscopy


Attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy


Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay


Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy






Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight massspectrometry


Polyethylene glycol


Polyethylene oxide


Isoelectric point


Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)


Poly(l-lactic acid)




Arginine–glycine–aspartic acid


Self-assembled monolayer


Surface-enhanced infrared absorption


Scanning electron microscopy


Surface plasmon resonance


Scanning tunneling microscopy


Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


Two dimensional


Three dimensional


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Richard Schmidt
    • 1
  • Heather Waldeck
    • 2
  • Weiyuan John Kao
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PharmacyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA;
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCollege of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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