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Cell Contact Guidance in Response to Nanopattern Shape and Height



Sheng Lin-Gibson, Jirun Sun, Nancy J. Lin, Jing N. Zhou, Hyun W. Ro, Christopher L. Soles, Marcus T. Cicerone, Yifu Ding


Understanding the correlation between cell contact guidance (CG) and nanoscale surface features is vital in designing advanced medical devices to manipulate cell behaviors. Nanoscale surface features that mimic extracellular matrix are critical environmental cues for cell CG. In this study, a set of line-and-space grating platforms were fabricated and applied to examine and differentiate the effects of surface topography and surface chemistry on cell CG using murine preosteoblasts. These platforms, prepared from three polymers with different surface chemistries, contained the same gradient in line height (0 nm to ≈ 350 nm) but inverse line and space geometries, which were fabricated using a versatile imprint method developed to duplicate the gradient of pattern heights from a thermoplastic material (polystyrene) to a thermoset material. The pattern height significantly impacted cell alignment, with a minimum critical height of ≈ 30 nm identified for the onset of cell alignment, regardless of surface chemistry. As the height increased, topography in terms of trough width had a significant effect on cell alignment. Results from focal adhesion assay and scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) indicated a change in cell-substrate contact from a non-composite state (full contact) to a composite state (partial contact between cell and substrate) as pattern height increased, accounting for the observed plateau in the percent of aligned cells as a function of height. These gradient platforms allowed for the separation of surface chemistry and surface topography to provide insight into the mechanisms responsible for cell CG on nanopatterned surfaces.


Surface topography, nanoimprint lithography, cell contact guidance, tissue engineering, extracellular matrix, focal adhesion


Lin-Gibson, S. , Sun, J. , Lin, N. , Zhou, J. , Ro, H. , Soles, C. , Cicerone, M. and Ding, Y. (2010), Cell Contact Guidance in Response to Nanopattern Shape and Height, Biomaterials, [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


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Created October 18, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018