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Nanomaterials can influence living biological systems with nanometer sensitivity

S. Sabella, V. Brunetti, G. Maiorano, L. Rizzello, B. Sorce, G. Vecchio, A. Galeone, R. Cingolani, P.P. Pompa
Italian Institute of Technology, IT

Keywords: nanobiointeractions, nanostructures, patterning


We show the different response of human neuroblastoma cells line to gold surfaces with different levels of nanoroughness, finding out that neurons are capable to sense and actively respond to these nanotopography features, with a surprising sensitivity to variations of few nanometers. Focal adhesion complexes, that allows cellular sensing, cannot properly assemble onto nanostructured surfaces, leading to a marked decrease in cell adhesion. Moreover, apoptosis/necrosis assays established that nanoscale features induce cell death by necrosis, with a trend directly related to roughness values. Finally, by seeding SH-SY5Y cells onto micropatterned flat and nanorough gold surfaces, we demonstrated the possibility to realize substrates with cytophilic or cytophobic behavior, simply by fine tuning their surface topography at nanometer scale, inducing a clear self-alignment of neurons. These nanostructured substrates were also investigated to explore their use as novel materials which can prevent bacterial colonization.
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