NanoTopoChip: High-throughput nanotopographical cell instruction

Frits F. B. Hulshof, Yiping Zhao, Aliaksei Vasilevich, Nick R. M. Beijer, Meint de Boer, Bernke J. Papenburg, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Dimitrios Stamatialis, Jan de Boer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Surface topography is able to influence cell phenotype in numerous ways and offers opportunities to manipulate cells and tissues. In this work, we develop the Nano-TopoChip and study the cell instructive effects of nanoscale topographies. A combination of deep UV projection lithography and conventional lithography was used to fabricate a library of more than 1200 different defined nanotopographies. To illustrate the cell instructive effects of nanotopography, actin-RFP labeled U2OS osteosarcoma cells were cultured and imaged on the Nano-TopoChip. Automated image analysis shows that of many cell morphological parameters, cell spreading, cell orientation and actin morphology are mostly affected by the nanotopographies. Additionally, by using modeling, the changes of cell morphological parameters could by predicted by several feature shape parameters such as lateral size and spacing.

This work overcomes the technological challenges of fabricating high quality defined nanoscale features on unprecedented large surface areas of a material relevant for tissue culture such as PS and the screening system is able to infer nanotopography - cell morphological parameter relationships. Our screening platform provides opportunities to identify and study the effect of nanotopography with beneficial properties for the culture of various cell types.

Statement of Significance

The nanotopography of biomaterial surfaces can be modified to influence adhering cells with the aim to improve the performance of medical implants and tissue culture substrates. However, the necessary knowledge of the underlying mechanisms remains incomplete. One reason for this is the limited availability of high-resolution nanotopographies on relevant biomaterials, suitable to conduct systematic biological studies. The present study shows the fabrication of a library of nano-sized surface topographies with high fidelity. The potential of this library, called the 'NanoTopoChip' is shown in a proof of principle HTS study which demonstrates how cells are affected by nanotopographies. The large dataset, acquired by quantitative high-content imaging, allowed us to use predictive modeling to describe how feature dimensions affect cell morphology. (C) 2017 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


  • Nanotopography
  • High-content imaging
  • Computational modelling


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