Polymer Science Faculty Research

Modified aminosilane substrates to evaluate osteoblast attachment, growth, and gene expression in vitro

William Landis, The University of Akron


Bone cell-substrate interactions are important to understand in the design, selection, and surface modification of bone implants. To gain insight into such interactions, substrates designed with surface species approximating the physiological environment of bone matrix were studied. Osteoblasts (Ob) grown on three such surfaces were used to evaluate cell-substrate effects on attachment, growth, and gene expression as compared with controls. Initial surface preparation consisted of coating glass slides with aminopropyltriethoxy silane (APTES), after which the coated slides were modified with collagen-rich extracellular matrix components obtained from normally mineralizing avian tendon: the tripeptide arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (arg-gly-asp), or a precipitate formed from a metastable solution containing inorganic ions normally found in blood (simulated body fluid). Each of the modified substrates, as well as the nonmodified (APTES) control, provided distinctly different physical (evidenced by differences in rms roughness) and chemical surfaces for seeding primary osteoblasts obtained from 14-day-old normal embryonic chickens. Cell responses to each of the substrates were evaluated over a 21-day period in terms of Ob growth and growth rate, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and gene expression of type I collagen (COL I), osteopontin (OPN), osteocalcin (OC), and bone sialoprotein (BSP). From these preliminary experiments, indications are that cell attachment and growth in this study possibly are independent processes, an assumption that compels the need for further studies. Collagen-rich matrix-modified substrates had a distinct advantage over others when cell growth rate, ALP activity, and gene expression were considered; cells on these substrates exhibited increased ALP activity and enhanced expression of BSP, OPN, and OC when compared with those of cells on APTES controls or other modified substrates. These results indicate that matrix-modified substrates such as those used in this study provide favorable templates for tissue generation, suggesting their potential in the design of surfaces for bone implants.