Substratum roughness alters the growth, area, and focal adhesions of epithelial cells, and their proximity to titanium surfaces



Epithelial (E) cells were cultured on smooth tissue culture plastic (TCP), TCP-Ti, polished Ti (P), and rough grit-blasted Ti (B), acid-etched Ti (AE), and grit-blasted and acid-etchedTi (SLA) surfaces and their growth, area, adhesion, and membrane-Ti proximity assessed. Rough surfaces decreased the growth of E cells compared to smooth surfaces in cultures up to 28 days. In general rough surfaces decreased the spreading of E cells as assessed by their area with the most pronounced affect for the SLA surface. On the other hand, the strength of E cells adhesion as inferred by immunofluorescence staining of vinculin in focal adhesions indicated that E cells formed more and larger focal adhesions on the smooth P surface compared to the rougher AE surface. As this finding indicates a stronger adhesion to smooth surfaces, it is likely that E cells on rough surfaces are more susceptible to mechanical removal. An immunogold labeling method was developed to visualize focal adhesions using back-scattered electron imaging with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). On rough surfaces focal adhesions were primarily localized on to the ridges rather than the valleys and the cells tended to bridge over the valleys. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements of membrane proximity to the Ti surface indicated that average distance of cell to the Ti increased as the Ti surface roughness increased. Therefore, the size and shape of surface features are important determinants of epithelial adhesive behavior and epithelial coverage of rough surfaces would be difficult to attain if such surfaces become exposed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res, 2005