It has been widely reported that surface morphology on the micrometer scale affects cell function as well as cell shape. In this study, we have systematically compared the influence of 13 topographically micropatterned tantalum surfaces on the temporal development of morphology, including spreading, and length of preosteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1). Cells were examined after 0.5, 1, 4, and 24 h on different Ta microstructures with vertical dimensions (heights) of 0.25 and 1.6 mu m. Cell morphologies depended upon the underlying Surface topography, and the length and spreading of cells varied as a function of time with regard to the two-dimensional pattern and vertical dimension of the structure. Microstructures of parallel grooves/ridges caused elongated cell growth after 1 and 4 h in comparison to a flat, nonstructured, reference surface. For microstructures consisting of pillars, cell spreading was found to depend on the distance between the pillars with one specific pillar Structure exhibiting a decreased spreading combined with a radical change in morphology of the cells. Interestingly, this morphology on the particular pillar structure was associated with a markedly different distribution of the actio cytoskeleton. Our results provide a basis for further work toward topographical guiding of cell function.
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