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Open AccessArticle

Sub-Micropillar Spacing Modulates the Spatial Arrangement of Mouse MC3T3-E1 Osteoblastic Cells

Centro Universitario di Odontoiatria, Università di Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43126 Parma, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina e Chirurgia, Università di Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43126 Parma, Italy
ISMAC-CNR, Institute for macromolecular studies, Via Corti, 12, 20133 Milano, Italy
IMEM-CNR, Institute of Materials for Electronics and Magnetism, Parco Area delle Scienze, 37/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, National Institute for Materials Science, 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba 305-0044, Japan
Institute of Applied Physics, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8573, Japan
Labör für Orale Molekularbiologie, Klinik für Kieferorthopädie, Zahnmedizinische Klinik, Universität Bern, Freiburgstrasse 7, 3008 Bern, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1701;
Received: 30 October 2019 / Revised: 22 November 2019 / Accepted: 25 November 2019 / Published: 28 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology in Dentistry)
Surface topography is one of the main factors controlling cell responses on implanted devices and a proper definition of the characteristics that optimize cell behavior may be crucial to improve the clinical performances of these implants. Substrate geometry is known to affect cell shape, as cells try to optimize their adhesion by adapting to the irregularities beneath, and this in turn profoundly affects their activity. In the present study, we cultured murine calvaria MC3T3-E1 cells on surfaces with pillars arranged as hexagons with two different spacings and observed their morphology during adhesion and growth. Cells on these highly ordered substrates attached and proliferated effectively, showing a marked preference for minimizing the inter-pillar distance, by following specific pathways across adjacent pillars and displaying consistent morphological modules. Moreover, cell behavior appeared to follow tightly controlled patterns of extracellular protein secretion, which preceded and matched cells and, on a sub-cellular level, cytoplasmic orientation. Taken together, these results outline the close integration of surface features, extracellular proteins alignment and cell arrangement, and provide clues on how to control and direct cell spatial order and cell morphology by simply acting on inter-pillar spacing. View Full-Text
Keywords: pillar; scaffold; osteoblasts; regenerative medicine pillar; scaffold; osteoblasts; regenerative medicine
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Ghezzi, B.; Lagonegro, P.; Fukata, N.; Parisi, L.; Calestani, D.; Galli, C.; Salviati, G.; Macaluso, G.M.; Rossi, F. Sub-Micropillar Spacing Modulates the Spatial Arrangement of Mouse MC3T3-E1 Osteoblastic Cells. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 1701.

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