Differential cell adhesion on mesoporous silicon substrates

Francesco Gentile, Rosanna La Rocca, Giovanni Marinaro, Annalisa Nicastri, Andrea Toma, Francesco Paonessa, Gheorghe Cojoc, Carlo Liberale, Fabio Benfenati, Enzo Di Fabrizio, Paolo Decuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Porous silicon (PSi) is a promising material in several biomedical applications because of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. Despite the plethora of studies focusing on the interaction of cells with micrometer and submicro geometrical features, limited information is available on the response of cells to substrates with a quasi-regular distribution of nanoscopic pores. Here, the behavior of four different cell types is analyzed on two mesoporous (MeP) silicon substrates, with an average pore size of ∼5 (MeP1) and ∼20 nm (MeP2), respectively. On both MeP substrates, cells are observed to spread and adhere in a larger number as compared to flat silicon wafers. At all considered time points, the surface density of the adhering cells n d is larger on the PSi substrate with the smaller average pore size (MeP1). At 60 h, n d is from ∼1.5 to 5 times larger on MeP1 than on MeP2 substrates, depending on the cell type. The higher rates of proliferation are observed for the two neuronal cell types, the mouse neuroblastoma cells (N2A) and the immortalized human cortical neuronal cells (HCN1A). It is speculated that the higher adhesion on MeP1 could be attributed to a preferential matching of the substrate topography with the recently observed multiscale molecular architecture of focal adhesions. These results have implications in the rational development of PSi substrates for supporting cell adhesion and controlling drug release in implants and scaffolds for tissue engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2903-2911
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 27 2012


  • cell adhesion
  • mesoporous silicon
  • nanoscale topography
  • optimal pore size
  • silicon implants
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential cell adhesion on mesoporous silicon substrates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this