Regulation of the fate of human mesenchymal stem cells by mechanical and stereo-topographical cues provided by silicon nanowires

Shu Wen Kuo, Hsin I. Lin, Jennifer Hui-Chun Ho, Yu Ru V. Shih, How Foo Chen, Ta Jen Yen, Oscar K. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Extracellular stimuli imposed on stem cells enable efficient initiation of mechanotransductive signaling to regulate stem cell fates; however, how such physical cues conferred by the stereo-topographical matrix govern the fate of stem cells still remains unknown. The purpose of this study is to delineate the effects of stereotopography and its various relevant physical properties on the fate regulation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Stereo-topographical silicon nanowires (SiNWs) that were precisely controlled with respect to their various dimensions and their growth orientation were used in this study. hMSCs cultured on stereo SiNWs of different lengths in the absence of biochemical osteogenic induction cues displayed a spherical and less-elongated morphology and showed an approximately 10% loss of cell viability compared to those grown on two-dimensional (2-D) flat Si. Moreover, osteogenic gene expression of COL1A1 and Runx2 in hMSCs cultured on the shortest SiNWs was significantly higher than those grown on the longer SiNWs and 2-D flat Si. hMSCs grown on shorter SiNWs also demonstrated higher expression levels for F-actin, phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (pFAK), vinculin and alpha 2 integrin. Stereo-topographical cues provided by SiNWs are able to regulate osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs via cytoskeleton remodeling and this is correlated with the differential expression of alpha 2/beta 1 integrin heterodimers and the focal adhesion molecules pFAK and vinculin. The findings in this study provide insights in terms of the design of stereo-topographical structures for use in tissue engineering, bone regeneration and relevant medical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5013-5022
Number of pages10
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Human mesenchymal stem cells
  • Integrin
  • Osteogenic differentiation
  • Silicon nanowires
  • Stereotopography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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