Controlling cell adhesion and proliferation on synthetic polymers is key to tissue engineering scaffold development. It is accepted that surface topography influences cell response but the mechanisms behind this remain unclear. In this work, cell response is assessed to topographies larger than focal complexes (FXs) but smaller than focal adhesions (FAs). Poly(L-lactic acid) was patterned with 400- and 700-nm pillars via replication molding. Human fibroblast adhesion and proliferation were assessed. The development of focal contacts and actin microfilaments were evaluated via immunofluorescence. Cell interactions with surface topography were observed via scanning electron microscopy. Initial fibroblast adhesion (<1 day) increased with texture as 400 nm > 700 nm > smooth, but proliferation (>1 day) decreased with texture. Increased FX formation was observed on textured surfaces. However, FAs were narrower on textured surfaces compared with smooth materials and confined to interpillar regions. SEM showed that fibroblasts deformed the 400-nm pillars. It is hypothesized that surface texture mediated FX formation and increased cell adhesion, possibly via increased material surface area. Texture geometry limited maturation of FXs to FAs, decreasing proliferation. We conclude that surface texture can alter cell adhesion and proliferation and propose geometric constraint as a mechanism for this process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering