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J R Soc Interface. 2008 Oct 6;5(27):1231-42. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2008.0035.

Adhesion formation of primary human osteoblasts and the functional response of mesenchymal stem cells to 330nm deep microgrooves.

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Centre for Cell Engineering, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Joseph Black Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.


The surface microtexture of an orthopaedic device can regulate cellular adhesion, a process fundamental in the initiation of osteoinduction and osteogenesis. Advances in fabrication techniques have evolved to include the field of surface modification; in particular, nanotechnology has allowed for the development of experimental nanoscale substrates for investigation into cell nanofeature interactions. Here primary human osteoblasts (HOBs) were cultured on ordered nanoscale groove/ridge arrays fabricated by photolithography. Grooves were 330nm deep and either 10, 25 or 100microm in width. Adhesion subtypes in HOBs were quantified by immunofluorescent microscopy and cell-substrate interactions were investigated via immunocytochemistry with scanning electron microscopy. To further investigate the effects of these substrates on cellular function, 1.7K gene microarray analysis was used to establish gene regulation profiles of mesenchymal stem cells cultured on these nanotopographies. Nanotopographies significantly affected the formation of focal complexes (FXs), focal adhesions (FAs) and supermature adhesions (SMAs). Planar control substrates induced widespread adhesion formation; 100microm wide groove/ridge arrays did not significantly affect adhesion formation yet induced upregulation of genes involved in skeletal development and increased osteospecific function; 25microm wide groove/ridge arrays were associated with a reduction in SMA and an increase in FX formation; and 10microm wide groove/ridge arrays significantly reduced osteoblast adhesion and induced an interplay of up- and downregulation of gene expression. This study indicates that groove/ridge topographies are important modulators of both cellular adhesion and osteospecific function and, critically, that groove/ridge width is important in determining cellular response.

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