Tuning cell adhesion by controlling the roughness and wettability of 3D micro/nano silicon structures
The aim of this study is to investigate fibroblast cell adhesion and viability on highly rough three-dimensional (3D) silicon (Si) surfaces with gradient roughness ratios and wettabilities. Culture surfaces were produced by femtosecond (fs) laser structuring of Si wafers and comprised forests of conical spikes exhibiting controlled dual-scale roughness at both the micro- and the nano-scale. Variable roughness could be achieved by changing the laser pulse fluence and control over wettability and therefore surface energy could be obtained by covering the structures with various conformal coatings, which altered the surface chemistry without, however, affecting morphology. The results showed that optimal cell adhesion was obtained for small roughness ratios, independently of the surface wettability and chemistry, indicating a non-monotonic dependence of fibroblast adhesion on surface energy. Additionally, it was shown that, for the same degree of roughness, a proper change in surface energy could switch the behaviour from cell-phobic to cell-philic and vice versa, transition that was always correlated to surface wettability. These experimental findings are discussed on the basis of previous theoretical models describing the relation of cell response to surface energy. The potential use of the patterned Si substrates as model scaffolds for the systematic exploration of the role of 3D micro/nano morphology and/or surface energy on cell adhesion and growth is envisaged.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 6, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 2711–2720