Modulating cellular adhesion through nanotopography

Paolo Decuzzi, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Cellular adhesion is a fundamental process in the development of scaffolds for tissue engineering; in the design of biosensors and in preparing antibacterial substrates. A theoretical model is presented for predicting the strength of cellular adhesion to originally inert surfaces as a function of the substrate topography, accounting for both specific (ligand-receptor) and non-specific interfacial interactions. Three regimes have been identified depending on the surface energy (γ) of the substrate: for small γ, any increase in roughness is detrimental to adhesion; for large γ, an optimal roughness exists that maximizes adhesion; and for intermediate γ, surface roughness has a minor effect on adhesion. The results presented are in qualitative agreement with several experimental observations and can capture the long-term equilibrium configuration of the system. The model proposed supports the notion for rationally designing substrates where topography and physico-chemical properties are tailored to favour cellular proliferation whilst repelling bacterial adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Cellular adhesion
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Nanotopography
  • Surface energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics


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