Scanning Microscopy


Differences in the shape change responses of platelets to various polymers may determine the thrombotic potential of these materials. Substrate-dependent variation in the expression and motility of the platelet fibrinogen receptor may underlie these differences due to this ligand's essential role in platelet aggregation. In this study we examine platelet activation on polyetherurethaneureas (PEUUs) presently being evaulated for vascular prosthetic applications. These polymers are prepared as 50-100nm thin films suitable as substrates for consecutive light microscopy, high voltage electron microscopy (HVEM), and SEM. 18nm colloidal gold coupled to fibrinogen permits visualization of that receptor's motility in living cells by video-enhanced light microscopy. Subsequent HVEM and SEM of identified cells provides correlative ultrastructure and surface morphology. The use of these novel support films coupled with the multiple modes of microscopy and colloidal gold labeled ligands permits in depth study of the molecular biology of cell adhesion to materials with varied, and known, surface properties.

The motility of the platelet fibrinogen receptor was related to the extent of cytoskeletal reorganization, which, in turn, was influenced by polymer surface energetics. Platelets adherent to more hydrophobic PEUUs had greater receptor mobility and receptor redistribution than platelets adherent to more hydrophilic PEUUs. The most extensive receptor motility and redistribution was observed on Formvar, a non-PEUU with low surface-water energy, suggesting that additional surface properties are of importance in determining platelet spreading and fibrinogen receptor motility.

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