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