Evaluation of mammalian cell adhesion on surface-modified porous silicon

Suet Peng Low, Keryn A. Williams, Leigh T. Canham, Nicolas H. Voelcker

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238 Citations (Scopus)


Porous silicon is a promising biomaterial that is non-toxic and biodegradable. Surface modification can offer control over the degradation rate and can also impart properties that promote cell adhesion. In this study, we modified the surface of porous silicon surface by ozone oxidation, silanisation or coating with collagen or serum. For each surface, topography was characterised using atomic force microscopy, wettability by water contact angle measurements, degradation in aqueous buffer by interferometric reflectance spectroscopy and surface chemistry by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The adhesion of rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) and human lens epithelial cells to these surfaces was investigated. Cells were incubated on the surfaces for 4 and 24 h, and adhesion characteristics were determined by using a fluorescent vital stain and cell counts. Collagen coated and amino silanised porous silicon promoted cell attachment for both cell lines whereas cells attached poorly to ozone oxidised and polyethylene glycol silanised surfaces. We showed that the two cell lines had different adhesion characteristics on the various surfaces at different time points. The use of the vitality assays Alamar Blue (redox based assay) and neutral red (active cellular uptake assay) with porous silicon was also investigated. We reveal incompatibilities between certain resazurin (Alamar Blue), lysosomal incorporation assays (neutral red) and porous silicon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4538-4546
Number of pages9
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradable materials
  • Cell adhesion
  • Porous silicon
  • Surface modification
  • Vitality assays

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