Surface morphology and chemistry of polymers used as biomaterials, such as tissue engineering scaffolds, have a strong influence on the adhesion and behavior of human mesenchymal stem cells. Here we studied semicrystalline poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) substrate scaffolds, which exhibited a variation of surface morphologies and roughness originating from different spherulitic superstructures. Different substrates were obtained by varying the parameters of the thermal processing, i.e. crystallization conditions. The cells attached to these polymer substrates adopted different morphologies responding to variations in spherulite density and size. In order to decouple substrate topology effects on the cells, sub-100 nm bio-adhesive polymer brush coatings of oligo(ethylene glycol) methacrylates were grafted from PCL and functionalized with fibronectin. On surfaces featuring different surface textures, dense and sub-100 nm thick brush coatings determined the response of cells, irrespective to the underlying topology. Thus, polymer brushes decouple substrate micro-/nano-topology and the adhesion of stem cells.
|Publication status||Published - 11 Oct 2013|