Biomaterials Translational ›› 2021, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (2): 165-173.doi: 10.12336/biomatertransl.2021.02.006

• RESEARCH ARTICLE • Previous Articles    

Surface topography and free energy regulate osteogenesis of stem cells: effects of shape-controlled gold nanoparticles

Kamolrat Metavarayuth, Esteban Villarreal, Hui Wang, Qian Wang*()   

  1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
  • Received:2021-04-05 Revised:2021-06-07 Accepted:2021-06-09 Online:2021-06-28 Published:2021-06-28
  • Contact: Qian Wang E-mail:Wang263@mailbox.sc.edu


The surface free energy of a biomaterial plays an important role in the early stages of cell-biomaterial interactions, profoundly influencing protein adsorption, interfacial water accessibility, and cell attachment on the biomaterial surface. Although multiple approaches have been developed to engineer the surface free energy of biomaterials, systematically tuning their surface free energy without altering other physicochemical properties remains challenging. In this study, we constructed an array of chemically-equivalent surfaces with comparable apparent roughness through assembly of gold nanoparticles adopting various geometrically-distinct shapes but all capped with the same surface ligand, (1-hexadecyl)trimethylammonium chloride, on cell culture substrates. We found that bone marrow stem cells exhibited distinct osteogenic differentiation behaviours when interacting with different types of substrates comprising shape-controlled gold nanoparticles. Our results reveal that bone marrow stem cells are capable of sensing differences in the nanoscale topographical features, which underscores the role of the surface free energy of nanostructured biomaterials in regulating cell responses. The study was approved by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina.

Key words: biomaterials, gold nanoparticles, osteogenesis, stem cells, surface free energy