Hierarchal nano- and micro-patterned surfaces to develop age- and cell-specific implants

Biomaterials have a broad range of clinical applications and several approaches have been utilized to tailor materials for an improved interaction with cells. One modification is the micro/nano-structuring of surfaces. It has been demonstrated, that surface features have an important impact on basic cell behavior, such as cell spreading, migration, proliferation or differentiation. In our study, the response of the most important cellular components of human blood vessel tissue, endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs), are investigated on specifically and novel structured silicone and hydrogel surfaces. These cell types are essential when it comes to a proper integration of a stent implant. We combine lithographic techniques, such as photo- and micelle-based lithography to obtain hierarchically patterned surfaces on nano- and micrometer-scale. With these surfaces we aim to interact in specific and defined ways with the two cells types in order to induce desired but distinct responses. To investigate age-specific differences in the interaction, we use ECs and SMCs from donors of different age (young vs. old) since cell aging chances cell adhesion and many other processes. Moreover, this part of the study takes into account that stents are more frequently implanted into old patients. Our aim is to study and understand on a cellular and molecular level the interactions of two medical relevant cell types (ECs and SMCs) with nano-/micro-structured biofunctionalized surfaces. This in turn might lead to the development of tailored implant surfaces according to medical needs.