Is surface roughness the key to improving bone scaffolds?

We are delighted to announce a new publication featuring the 3D Cell Explorer, has been published in the scientific journal, Materials & Design. The study, led by Prof. Urszula Stachewicz at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland, used Nanolive cell imaging to evaluate how surface roughness influences cell function and behaviour.

The role of cell response in biomaterials design

Understanding how cells respond to surfaces with different properties is fundamental for designing biomaterials for specific tissue engineering applications (e.g. scaffolds used for bone regeneration). In this video (1 image taken every 10 secs) we observe a human osteoblast-like cell (MG-63) interact with smooth and porous polycaprolactone (PCL) fibers. The cell adapts within the space between the fibers.

Supporting lamellipodia and filopodia form between the cell and the pores present in the porous PCL fibres, anchoring the cell to the surface. Material is exchanged between the cell and the PCL fibres. It is possible that these are vesicles containing the extracellular matrix proteins required to eventually deposit calcium phosphate nanocrystals on.

In the article, numerous imaging techniques were used to compare the response of cells to porous – and smooth PCL fibers. The authors show that smooth fibers induce the formation of longer filopodia, which attach and overlap with the surface of the fiber, whereas porous fibers induce the formation of numerous shorter supporting structures.

The authors conclude that porosity enhances a cells ability to adhere to a 3D environment; a finding that has important implications for biomaterial design.

To view the videos and read about the physical properties of the surfaces used in this study, click here.

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