Directing stem cell differentiation via electrochemical reversible switching between nanotubes and nanotips of polypyrrole array

Yan Wei, Xiaoju Mo, Pengchao Zhang, Yingying Li, Jingwen Liao, Yongjun Li, Jinxing Zhang, Chengyun Ning, Shutao Wang, Xuliang Deng, Lei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Control of stem cell behaviors at solid biointerfaces is critical for stem-cell-based regeneration and generally achieved by engineering chemical composition, topography, and stiffness. However, the influence of dynamic stimuli at the nanoscale from solid biointerfaces on stem cell fate remains unclear. Herein, we show that electrochemical switching of a polypyrrole (Ppy) array between nanotubes and nanotips can alter surface adhesion, which can strongly influence mechanotransduction activation and guide differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The Ppy array, prepared via template-free electrochemical polymerization, can be reversibly switched between highly adhesive hydrophobic nanotubes and poorly adhesive hydrophilic nanotips through an electrochemical oxidation/reduction process, resulting in dynamic attachment and detachment to MSCs at the nanoscale. Multicyclic attachment/detachment of the Ppy array to MSCs can activate intracellular mechanotransduction and osteogenic differentiation independent of surface stiffness and chemical induction. This smart surface, permitting transduction of nanoscaled dynamic physical inputs into biological outputs, provides an alternative to classical cell culture substrates for regulating stem cell fate commitment. This study represents a general strategy to explore nanoscaled interactions between stem cells and stimuli-responsive surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5915-5924
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • electrochemical switching
  • nanotube/nanotip array
  • polypyrrole
  • smart surface
  • stem cell differentiation

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