Nanoscale definition of substrate materials to direct human adult stem cells towards tissue specific populations

Curran, Judith M. and Chen, Rui and Stokes, Robert and Irvine, Eleanor and Graham, Duncan and Gubbins, Earl and Delaney, Deany and Amro, Nabil and Sanedrin, Raymond and Jamil, Haris and Hunt, John A. (2010) Nanoscale definition of substrate materials to direct human adult stem cells towards tissue specific populations. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 21 (3). pp. 1021-1029. ISSN 0957-4530 (

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The development of homogenously nano-patterned chemically modified surfaces that can be used to initiate a cellular response, particularly stem cell differentiation, in a highly controlled manner without the need for exogenous biological factors has never been reported, due to that fact that precisely defined and reproducible systems have not been available that can be used to study cell/material interactions and unlock the potential of a material driven cell response. Until now material driven stem cell (furthermore any cell) responses have been variable due to the limitations in definition and reproducibility of the underlying substrate and the lack of true homogeneity of modifications that can dictate a cellular response at a sub-micron level that can effectively control initial cell interactions of all cells that contact the surface. Here we report the successful design and use of homogenously molecularly nanopatterned surfaces to control initial stem cell adhesion and hence function. The highly specified nano-patterned arrays were compared directly to silane modified bulk coated substrates that have previously been proven to initiate mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation in a heterogenous manner, the aim of this study was to prove the efficiency of these previously observed cell responses could be enhanced by the incorporation of nano-patterns. Nano-patterned surfaces were prepared by Dip Pen Nanolithography(A (R)) (DPNA (R)) to produce arrays of 70 nm sized dots separated by defined spacings of 140, 280 and 1000 nm with terminal functionalities of carboxyl, amino, methyl and hydroxyl and used to control cell growth. These nanopatterned surfaces exhibited unprecedented control of initial cell interactions and will change the capabilities for stem cell definition in vitro and then cell based medical therapies. In addition to highlighting the ability of the materials to control stem cell functionality on an unprecedented scale this research also introduces the successful scale-up of DPNA (R) and the novel chemistries and systems to facilitate the production of homogeneously patterned substrates (5 mm(2)) that are applicable for use in in vitro cell conditions over prolonged periods for complete control of material driven cell responses.