Protein-surface interactions: an energy-based mathematical model.


This article describes an energy-based approach to protein adsorption, focusing on the energies involved in the interactions between a protein and a surface. Mathematical modeling and simulation based on this approach allow an improved understanding of the conditions that favor or prevent adsorption of a protein onto a surface and that can play a significant role in the design of material surfaces that interact with biological tissues according to specific needs. Biocompatibility with respect to fluids in motion, such as blood, is the main foreseeable application of our work. The considered energies are the van der Waals energy, the electrostatic energy, and the hydrophobic or hydrophilic energy. Moreover, the motion of the medium in which particles are immersed is also taken into account, considering the drag effect of the motion of the fluid on the particle, leading to a kinetic contribution to the total energy. It is shown that the adsorption behavior is not mainly determined by the van der Waals energy and by the double layer energy, but that a significant role is also played by the hydrophobic or hydrophilic energy. These results support the findings of experimental studies.