American Chemical Society
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Structure Governs the Deformability of Polymer Particles in a Microfluidic Blood Capillary Model

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-11-17, 00:00 authored by Huanli Sun, Mattias Björnmalm, Jiwei Cui, Edgar H. H. Wong, Yunlu Dai, Qiong Dai, Greg G. Qiao, Frank Caruso
Particle stiffness is a design parameter that affects bionano interactions, including biodistribution kinetics and cellular processing. Herein, we develop soft polysaccharide (hyaluronic acid, HA) replica particles and capsules with tunable stiffness and sizes similar to human red blood cells (RBCs) via atom transfer radical polymerization-mediated continuous assembly of polymers (CAPATRP) and investigate their stiffness and deformability using colloidal-probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM) and a microfluidic blood capillary model, respectively. We demonstrate that HA replica particles and capsules with comparable nanoscale stiffness exhibit significantly different behaviors in a microfluidic blood capillary model. HA capsules behaved as RBCs, while HA replica particles had difficulty passing through the capillaries. These results (i) demonstrate how flow-based deformability measurements can be used to complement nanoscale stiffness measurements and (ii) provide important insight into the role of particle structure on the flow-based deformability of soft replica particles and capsules in a physiologically relevant microfluidic model.