Interactions with nanoscale topography: adhesion quantification and signal transduction in cells of osteogenic and multipotent lineage

M.J.P Biggs, R.G. Richards, N. Gadegaard, R.J. McMurray, S. Affrossman, C.D.W. Wilkinson, R.O.C. Oreffo, M.J. Dalby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Polymeric medical devices widely used in orthopedic surgery play key roles in fracture fixation and orthopedic implant design. Topographical modification and surface micro-roughness of these devices regulate cellular adhesion, a process fundamental in the initiation of osteoinduction and osteogenesis. Advances in fabrication techniques have evolved the field of surface modification; in particular, nanotedulology has allowed the development of nanoscale substrates for the investigation into cell-nanofeature interactions. In this study human osteoblasts (HOBS) were cultured on ordered nanoscale pits and random nano "craters" and "islands". Adhesion subtypes were quantified by immunofluorescent microscopy and cell-substrate interactions investigated via immuno-scanning electron microscopy. To investigate the effects of these substrates on cellular function 1.7 k microarray analysis was used to establish gene profiles of enriched STRO-1+ progenitor cell populations cultured on these nanotopographies. Nanotopographies affected the formation of adhesions on experimental substrates. Adhesion formation was prominent on planar control substrates and reduced on nanocrater and nanoisland topographies; nanopits, however, were shown to inhibit directly the formation of large adhesions. STRO-1+ progenitor cells cultured on experimental substrates revealed significant changes in genetic expression. This study implicates nanotopographical modification as a significant modulator of osteoblast adhesion and cellular function in mesenchymal populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • osteoblasts
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • focal adhesions
  • genomic regulation
  • nanotopography
  • nanobioscience
  • scanning electron-microscopy
  • poly-l/dl-lactide
  • focal adhesion
  • osteoblast adhesion
  • matrix adhesions
  • dynamics
  • bone
  • mechanotransduction
  • differentiation
  • kinase


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