A simple, inexpensive photolithographic method for surface patterning deformable, solvated substrates is demonstrated using photoactive poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-diacrylate hydrogels as model substrates. Photolithographic masks were prepared by printing the desired patterns onto transparencies using a laser jet printer. Precursor solutions containing monoacryloyl-PEG-peptide and photoinitiator were layered onto hydrogel surfaces. The acrylated moieties in the precursor solution were then conjugated in monolayers to specific hydrogel regions by exposure to UV light through the transparency mask. The effects of UV irradiation time and precursor solution concentration on the levels of immobilized peptide were characterized, demonstrating that bound peptide concentration can be controlled by tuning these parameters. Multiple peptides can be immobilized to a single hydrogel surface in distinct patterns by sequential application of this technique, opening up its potential use in co-cultures. In addition, 3D structures can be generated by incorporating PEG-diacrylate into the precursor solution. To evaluate the feasibility of using these patterned surfaces for guiding cell behavior, human dermal fibroblast adhesion on hydrogel surfaces patterned with acryloyl-PEG-RGDS was investigated. This patterning method may find use in tissue engineering, the elucidation of fundamental structure-function relationships, and the formation of immobilized cell and protein arrays for biotechnology. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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