Antenna coupling microwave plasma enables a highly oxidative treatment of the outmost surface of polypropylene (PP) nonwoven fabric within a short time period. Subsequently, grafting copolymerization with acrylic acid (AAc) makes the plasma-treated fabric durably hydrophilic and excellent in water absorbency. With high grafting density and strong water affinity, the pAAc-grafted support greatly becomes feasible as an intensive absorbent and as a support to promote heparin immobilization through amide bonds. For heparin immobilized in acidic condition, the carbonate groups of the molecule tend to dissolve and passive encapsulation of the molecule prevents its functional groups from bonding with the carboxylic acid of pAAc. This effect leads to inhibit the immobilization process and consequently reduces the quantity as well as the bioactivity of the immobilized heparin. In alkaline processing environment, the oxidized uronic acid residues in heparin-related glycans are presumably cleaved and the removal of some oxidized residuals before immobilization process is likely to reduce the chain length of heparin. In the latter case, anticoagulant Factors X and XII, but not thrombin, are unaffected. Anticoagulant activity test using activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) is more sensitive in assessing heparin-immobilized surfaces, since it corresponds to Factor X and initiates the inhibition of Factor XII and thrombin. Likewise, platelets adhesion on the surfaces decreases as the process shifted from acidic to alkaline condition, whereas the hydrophilic character of the grafted pAAc markedly contributes to extend physical insertion of platelets. The immobilized heparin has a great part of original bioactivity, depending on the pH of the processing environment and the immobilized quantity. Relative bioactivity based upon aPTT tests is partially held longer than 90 days for the sample prepared in the alkaline or neutral environment.
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