ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2012 Jun 22;4(6):2903-11. Epub 2012 May 22.
Laboratory of Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Magna Graecia , Catanzaro 88100, Italy.
Porous silicon (PSi) is a promising material in several biomedical applications because of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. Despite the plethora of studies focusing on the interaction of cells with micrometer and submicro geometrical features, limited information is available on the response of cells to substrates with a quasi-regular distribution of nanoscopic pores. Here, the behavior of four different cell types is analyzed on two mesoporous (MeP) silicon substrates, with an average pore size of ∼5 (MeP1) and ∼20 nm (MeP2), respectively. On both MeP substrates, cells are observed to spread and adhere in a larger number as compared to flat silicon wafers. At all considered time points, the surface density of the adhering cells nd is larger on the PSi substrate with the smaller average pore size (MeP1). At 60 h, nd is from ∼1.5 to 5 times larger on MeP1 than on MeP2 substrates, depending on the cell type. The higher rates of proliferation are observed for the two neuronal cell types, the mouse neuroblastoma cells (N2A) and the immortalized human cortical neuronal cells (HCN1A). It is speculated that the higher adhesion on MeP1 could be attributed to a preferential matching of the substrate topography with the recently observed multiscale molecular architecture of focal adhesions. These results have implications in the rational development of PSi substrates for supporting cell adhesion and controlling drug release in implants and scaffolds for tissue engineering applications.