• endothelialization;
  • plasma polymerization;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • vascular grafts;
  • surface modification


The formation of endothelial cell monolayer on prosthetic implants has not sufficiently explored. The main reasons leading to the development of thrombosis and/or intimal hyperplasia is the lack of endothelialization. In the present work, we have studied the influence of oxygen and fluorine plasma treatment of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymers on human microvascular endothelial cell adhesion and proliferation. We characterized the polymer surface, wettability, and oxidation potential upon plasma treatment. Moreover, binding of serum and media compounds on PET surface was monitored by Quartz crystal microbalance method, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Cell adhesion and morphology was assessed by light and scanning electron microscopy. The influence of plasma treatment on induction of cellular oxidative stress and cell proliferation was evaluated. The results obtained showed that treatment with oxygen plasma decreased the oxidation potential of the PET surface and revealed the highest affinity for binding of serum components. Accordingly, the cells reflected the best adhesion and morphological properties on oxygen-treated PET polymers. Moreover, treatment with oxygen plasma did not induce intracellular reactive oxygen species production while it stimulated endothelial cell proliferation by 25% suggesting the possible use of oxygen plasma treatment to enhance endothelialization of synthetic vascular grafts. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 102A: 2305–2314, 2014.