Volumetric interpretation of protein adsorption: Kinetic consequences of a slowly-concentrating interphase

Naris Barnthip, Hyeran Noh, Evan Leibner, Erwin A. Vogler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Time-dependent energetics of blood-protein adsorption are interpreted in terms of a slowly-concentrating three-dimensional interphase volume initially formed by rapid diffusion of protein molecules into an interfacial region spontaneously formed by bringing a protein solution into contact with a physical surface. This modification of standard adsorption theory is motivated by the experimental observation that interfacial tensions of protein-containing solutions decrease slowly over the first hour to a steady-state value while, over this same period, the total adsorbed protein mass is constant (for lysozyme, 15 kDa; α-amylase, 51 KDa; albumin, 66 kDa; prothrombin, 72 kDa; IgG, 160 kDa; fibrinogen, 341 kDa studied in this work). These seemingly divergent observations are rationalized by the fact that interfacial energetics (tensions) are explicit functions of solute chemical potential (concentration), not adsorbed mass. Hence, rates of interfacial tension change parallel a slow interphase-concentration effect whereas solution depletion detects a constant interphase composition within the timeframe of experiment. A straightforward mathematical model approximating the perceived physical situation leads to an analytic formulation that is used to compute time-varying interphase volume and protein concentration from experimentally-measured interfacial tensions. Derivation from the fundamental thermodynamic adsorption equation verifies that protein adsorption from dilute solution is controlled by a partition coefficient at equilibrium, as is observed experimentally at steady state. Implications of the alternative interpretation of adsorption kinetics on biomaterials and biocompatibility are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3062-3074
Number of pages13
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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