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Biomed Mater. 2010 Jun;5(3):35011. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/5/3/035011. Epub 2010 May 27.

Stretched inverse opal colloid crystal substrates-induced orientation of fibroblast.

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State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, People’s Republic of China.


Recently, there has been increasing interest in studying the interaction between mammalian cells and nanometer-sized structures. However, the effect of nanostructures on cell behavior, such as cell morphology and alignment, is still largely unknown. Inverse opal colloid crystal substrates, which can be stretched to produce nano-scale pore structures of different degrees of orientation, serve as a convenient model system to study the effect of nanotopography on cell morphology and cell alignment. In this work, we fabricated inverse opal colloidal crystal films that were either unstretched or stretched to three, four or six times their original length, producing pore structures of increasing degree of orientation. Human dermal fibroblast-fetal (HDF-f) cells were seeded and cultured on these four types of substrates. The results from fluorescence microscopy and scanning electron microscopy indicated that cells showed the highest degree of alignment when cultured on inverse opal colloid crystal films that were stretched the most (six times original length). The results also demonstrated that the orientation of nanostructures could affect both the morphology and growth direction of fibroblasts. The ability to control the direction of cell growth through the engineering of nanostructures could have important applications in tissue engineering, especially for tissues with anisotropic structures, such as cardiac muscle, blood vessel, tendon and ligament.

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