• cell culture;
  • cell sheet detachment;
  • nanocomposite hydrogels;
  • positively charged gel;
  • negatively charged gel


The charged nanocomposite hydrogels (NC gels) were synthesized by copolymerization of positively or negatively chargeable monomer with N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) in the aqueous suspension of hectorite clay. The ionic NC gels preserved the thermo-responsibility with the phase-transition temperature below 37°C. The L929 cell proliferation was sensitive to charge polarity and charge density. As compared to the PNIPAm NC gel, the cationic NC gels with <5 mol % of 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) showed improved cell proliferation, whereas the cells grew slowly on the gels with negatively charged 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (AMPSNa). By lowering temperature, rapid cell sheet detachment was observed from the surface of ionic NC gels with 1 mol % of ionizable monomers. However, lager amount of AMPSNa or DMAEMA did not support rapid cell sheet detachment, probably owing to the adverse swelling effects and/or enhanced electrostatic attraction. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 101: 58–65, 2014.