Surfaces for hearts: Establishing the optimum plasma surface engineering methodology on polystyrene for cardiac cell engineering

Maria Kitsara (Lead / Corresponding author), Dimitrios Kontziampasis (Lead / Corresponding author), Efi Bolomiti, Alexandre Simon, Panagiotis Dimitrakis, Antoine Miche, Georgios Kokkoris, Vincent Humblot, Onnik Agbulut (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


Plasma surface modification is a popular method for improving cell culture on surfaces, and polystyrene (PS) is literature's material of choice. This study identifies the optimum plasma treatment for promoting normal cardiac cell behaviour during culture. PS slides were plasma-treated with O 2, N 2, O 2 + N 2 and Ar + N 2 for 20 and 30 min in a reactive ion etcher (RIE). SEM reveals that O 2 and O 2 + N 2 plasmas create dual scale roughness, N 2 plasma creates oval-shaped structures, while Ar + N 2 exhibits no topography. Evaluation by XPS reveals an increase in the atomic percentage of oxygen for all treatments. Contact angle measurements agree as all treatments lead to hydrophilisation, with N 2 samples exhibiting long-term stability. Two sources of cells were used to identify the optimum plasma treatment for cardiac cell culture on PS. H9c2 cells exhibit optimal behaviour with N 2 and N 2 + Ar regarding viability, morphology, and focal adhesion contact. The same was observed for primary cardiomyocytes on N 2 samples. For purified cardiomyocytes, immunofluorescence revealed well-organised sarcomeric structure on N 2 samples, exhibiting clear improvement compared to control. SEM validated these findings, as cardiomyocytes on N 2-treated PS exhibited physiological, elongated shape. These findings provide solid evidence that the optimum treatment for PS is the use of N 2 plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156822
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date21 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2023


  • Plasma nanoscience
  • Polystyrene
  • Surface modification
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Biointerfaces
  • Cardiac cell engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Surfaces for hearts: Establishing the optimum plasma surface engineering methodology on polystyrene for cardiac cell engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this