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Tuning cell adhesion by direct nanostructuring silicon into cell repulsive/adhesive patterns

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 17:09 by Amirhossein Tavangar, Priyatha Premanth, Bo Tan, Krishnan Venkatakrishnan
Developing platforms that allow tuning cell functionality through incorporating physical, chemical, or mechanical cues onto the material surfaces is one of the key challenges in research in the field of biomaterials. In this respect, various approaches have been proposed and numerous structures have been developed on a variety of materials. Most of these approaches, however, demand a multistep process or post-chemical treatment. Therefore, a simple approach would be desirable to develop bio-functionalized platforms for effectively modulating cell adhesion and consequently programming cell functionality without requiring any chemical or biological surface treatment. This study introduces a versatile yet simple laser approach to structure silicon (Si) chips into cytophobic/cytophilic patterns in order to modulate cell adhesion and proliferation. These patterns are fabricated on platforms through direct laser processing of Si substrates, which renders a desired computer-generated configuration into patterns. We investigate the morphology, chemistry, and wettability of the platform surfaces. Subsequently, we study the functionality of the fabricated platforms on modulating cervical cancer cells (HeLa) behaviour. The results from in vitro studies suggest that the nanostructures efficiently repel HeLa cells and drive them to migrate onto untreated sites. The study of the morphology of the cells reveals that cells evade the cytophobic area by bending and changing directions. Additionally, cell patterning, cell directionality, cell channelling, and cell trapping are achieved by developing different platforms with specific patterns. The flexibility and controllability of this approach to effectively structure Si substrates to cell-repulsive and cell adhesive patterns offer perceptible outlook for developing bio-functionalized platforms for a variety biomedical devices. Moreover, this approach could pave the way for developing anti-cancer platforms that are repellent to cancer cells but favourable for other types of cells.

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