Membranes for biohybrid organs such as the biohybrid liver support system have to face 2 different environments, namely blood and tissue cells. Accordingly, the respective membrane surfaces must have optimal properties in terms of biocompatibility for blood or tissue. Flat membranes prepared by a phase inversion process from polyetherimide were modified by binding of tris- (hydroxymethyl)-aminomethane to obtain a surface with hydroxyl groups by binding of polyethylene imine to at- tach a hydrophilic macromolecule with amine groups use- ful as a spacer for later bonding of further ligands and by attachment of heparin. The binding of the different ligands was successful as monitored by different physicochemical methods. The blood response of plain polyetherimide was comparable to that of polyacrylonitrile, and it could be further improved by the binding of heparin. The tissue compatibility of polyetherimide and its different modifica- tions was compared with commercial cell culture substrate membranes (Millicell) and found to be comparable for polyetherimide and even better after the modification with tris-(hydroxymethyl)-aminomethane. In conclusion, polyetherimide seems to be an interesting material for the production of membranes for application in biohy- brid organ systems.
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