During the last few decades, thermoresponsive materials for modulating cell adhesion have been investigated for the application of tissue engineering. In this study, we developed thermoresponsive mixed polymer brushes consisting of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) and poly(N,N-dimethylaminopropylacrylamide) (PDMAPAAm). The mixed polymer brushes were prepared on a glass substrate via the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization of DMAPAAm and subsequent atom transfer radical polymerization of NIPAAm. The mixed polymer brushes grafted to glass exhibited increased cationic properties by increasing the grafted PDMAPAAm length. The shrinking and extension of PNIPAAm exposed and concealed PDMAPAAm, respectively, indicating that the surface cationic properties can be controlled by changing the temperature. At 37 °C, the prepared mixed polymer brushes enhanced cell adhesion through their electrostatic interactions with cells. They also exhibited various thermoresponsive adhesion and detachment properties using various types of cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells. Temperature-controlled cell adhesion and detachment behavior differed between cell types. Using the prepared mixed polymer brush, we separated MSCs from adipocytes and HeLa cells by simply changing the temperature. Thus, the thermoresponsive mixed polymer brushes may be used to separate mesenchymal stem cells from their differentiated or contaminant cells by altering the temperature.
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