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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Microcarrier cell culture systems provide an attractive alternative to the conventional monolayer cell culture for cell amplification, due to their high surface area-to-volume ratio. Unlike enzymatic methods for removing cells from microcarriers after cell culture, which can lead to irreversible damage of the cells, microcarriers which release cells by temperature adjustment have been developed. This was achieved by grafting a temperature-responsive polymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm), on the microcarrier surface. This review comprehensively presents various methods to prepare such thermo-responsive microcarriers based on PNIPAAm. These methods include the grafting-to technique, grafting-from technique, grafting-through technique, along with methods leading to PNIPAAm hydrogel beads, seeded polymerization, and non-covalent adsorption. The methods for controlling PNIPAAm grafting density, molecular weight and molecular architecture are also outlined. Further, the efficiency of cell attachment, proliferation and thermally-induced detachment of such thermo-responsive microcarriers is introduced and compared.

Original publication




Journal article


European Polymer Journal

Publication Date





346 - 364