The controlled interfacial properties of materials and modulated behaviours of cells and biomolecules on their surface are the requirements in the development of a new generation of high-performance biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications. Roughness, chemistry and mechanics of biomaterials are all sensed by cells. Organization of the environment at the nano- and the microscale, as well as chemical signals, triggers specific responses with further impact on cell fate. Particularly, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) hold a great promise in both basic developmental biology studies and regenerative medicine, as progenitors of bone cells. Their fate can be affected by various key regulatory factors (e.g. soluble growth factors, intrinsic, extrinsic environmental factors) that can be delivered by a fabricated scaffold. For example, when cultured on engineered environments that reproduce the physical features of the bone, hMSCs express tissue-specific transcription factors and consequently undergo an osteogenic fate. Therefore, producing smart bio-interfaces with targeted functionalities represents the key point in effective use of hierarchically topographical and chemical bioplatforms. In this chapter, we review laser-based approaches (e.g. Matrix-Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation (MAPLE), Laser-Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT), laser texturing and laser direct writing) used for the design of bio-interfaces aimed at controlling stem cell behaviour in vitro.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Biopolymers
Various applications within last decades such as bacterially resistant surfaces, soft robotics, drug delivery systems, sensors and tissue engineering are poised to feature the importance of the ability to control bio-interfacial interactions. An enhanced attention is dedicated to designing smart stimuli-responsive interfaces for DNA, drug delivery, protein and cell based applications. Within this context, the thermoresponsive materials, especially poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAm) have been intensively used in tissue engineering applications for a controlled detachment of proteins and cells with a minimum of invasive effect on protein and cell structural conformation. The properties of smart bio-interfaces can be controlled by its composition and polymer architecture. Therefore, appropriate methods for obtaining controlled coatings are necessary. Laser methods were successfully used in the last decades for obtaining controlled organic and inorganic coatings for various types of applications, from electronics to tissue engineering. Among these, Matrix-Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation (MAPLE) technique bring us a step forward to other laser methods by avoiding damage and photochemical decomposition of materials. In this chapter we describe materials and approaches used for design of smart bio-interfaces aimed at controlling protein and cells behavior in vitro, focusing MAPLE method for tuning coatings characteristics in relation with biological response.
Part of the book: Modern Technologies for Creating the Thin-film Systems and Coatings
Polymer and biomolecule processing for medical and electronics applications, i.e. the fabrication of sensors and biosensors, microarrays, or lab on chip devices is a cornerstone field which shows great promise. Laser based thin film deposition techniques such as pulsed laser deposition or matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) are competing with conventional methods for integrating new materials with tailored properties for novel technological developments. Successful polymer and protein thin film deposition requires several key elements for depositing viable and functional thin films, i.e. the characteristics of the laser depositing system, the choice of targets and receiver substrates, etc. This chapter reviews the following topics: brief presentation of the MAPLE process including several examples of polymer materials deposited by MAPLE, thus illustrating the potential of the technique as a gentle laser-assisted deposition method. In particular, the “synthesis” of new materials, their analysis and correlation of the bulk and interface properties to its bio-environment shall be discussed as a method to tackle some bioengineering issues. We will also focus on recent breakthroughs of the MAPLE technique for the fabrication of functional devices, i.e. sensor devices based either on chemoresponsive polymers or on proteins.
Part of the book: Laser Ablation