Flow-cytometric analysis of leukocyte activation induced by polyethylene-terephthalate with and without pyrolytic carbon coating

Donatella Granchi, Elisabetta Cenni, Elisabetta Verri, Gabriela Ciapetti, Simonetta Gamberini, Alessandra Gori, Arturo Pizzoferrato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leukocyte activation is one test for the evaluation of blood-materials interaction. The expression of adhesion molecules analyzed by flow cytometry provides a simple method to evaluate leukocyte activation by biomaterials: any change in these molecules can be predictive of the inflammatory activity of the materials. In this study the contact between leukocytes and uncoated polyethylene terephthalate or pyrolytic carbon-coated polyethylene terephthalate (PET and PET-PC, respectively) was inspected by analyzing whether the expression of some adhesion molecules involved in leukocyte activation, namely LFA-1 (CD11a/CD18), Mac 1/CR3 (CD11b/CD18), and LECAM-1 (CD62L) can be modified. By flow cytometry expression of the adhesion molecules can be studied separately on lymphocytes and myeloid cells. The materials tested reduced the total numbers of both leukocytes and neutrophils, although not significantly. Neither PET nor PET-PC changed the expression of the adhesion molecules in lymphocytes: this suggests that no specific immune response is stimulated. On the contrary, statistically significant changes were observed for monocytes and granulocytes: the percentage of cells expressing Mac-1 and the density of such antigens on cell membranes increased while the percentage of LECAM-1 positive cells decreased. Similar changes were observed when the cells underwent the inflammatory stimulus provided by an in vitro challenge with bacterial endotoxin. Our results demonstrated that polyethylene terephthalate activates leukocytes by modifying the expression in neutrophils of the molecules involved in the early phase of the inflammatory response. Even after coating PET with pyrolytic carbon, the ability of this material to activate circulating leukocytes was maintained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-553
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 1998


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Flow cytometry
  • Leukocytes
  • Polyethylene terephthalate
  • Pyrolytic carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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