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Controlling Cell Functions and Fate with Surfaces and Hydrogels: The Role of Material Features in Cell Adhesion and Signal Transduction

Department of Chemical, Materials and Industrial Production Engineering and Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Biomaterials, University of Naples Federico II, P.le Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Center for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care@CRIB, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, L.go Barsanti e Matteucci 53, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Esmaiel Jabbari
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogels in Tissue Engineering)
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In their natural environment, cells are constantly exposed to a cohort of biochemical and biophysical signals that govern their functions and fate. Therefore, materials for biomedical applications, either in vivo or in vitro, should provide a replica of the complex patterns of biological signals. Thus, the development of a novel class of biomaterials requires, on the one side, the understanding of the dynamic interactions occurring at the interface of cells and materials; on the other, it requires the development of technologies able to integrate multiple signals precisely organized in time and space. A large body of studies aimed at investigating the mechanisms underpinning cell-material interactions is mostly based on 2D systems. While these have been instrumental in shaping our understanding of the recognition of and reaction to material stimuli, they lack the ability to capture central features of the natural cellular environment, such as dimensionality, remodelling and degradability. In this work, we review the fundamental traits of material signal sensing and cell response. We then present relevant technologies and materials that enable fabricating systems able to control various aspects of cell behavior, and we highlight potential differences that arise from 2D and 3D settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: cell adhesion; surface patterning; hydrogel; mechanotransduction cell adhesion; surface patterning; hydrogel; mechanotransduction

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Ventre, M.; Netti, P.A. Controlling Cell Functions and Fate with Surfaces and Hydrogels: The Role of Material Features in Cell Adhesion and Signal Transduction. Gels 2016, 2, 12.

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