Nano Express

Nanoscale Research Letters

, Volume 4, Issue 8, pp 903-912

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A Nanodot Array Modulates Cell Adhesion and Induces an Apoptosis-Like Abnormality in NIH-3T3 Cells

  • Hsu-An PanAffiliated withInstitute of Nanotechnology, National Chiao Tung University
  • , Yao-Ching HungAffiliated withSection of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, China Medical University and Hospital
  • , Chia-Wei SuAffiliated withInstitute of Nanotechnology, National Chiao Tung University
  • , Shih-Ming TaiAffiliated withInstitute of Nanotechnology, National Chiao Tung University
  • , Chiun-Hsun ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, National Chiao Tung University
  • , Fu-Hsiang KoAffiliated withInstitute of Nanotechnology, National Chiao Tung University
  • , G. Steve HuangAffiliated withInstitute of Nanotechnology, National Chiao Tung University Email author 


Micro-structures that mimic the extracellular substratum promote cell growth and differentiation, while the cellular reaction to a nanostructure is poorly defined. To evaluate the cellular response to a nanoscaled surface, NIH 3T3 cells were grown on nanodot arrays with dot diameters ranging from 10 to 200 nm. The nanodot arrays were fabricated by AAO processing on TaN-coated wafers. A thin layer of platinum, 5 nm in thickness, was sputtered onto the structure to improve biocompatibility. The cells grew normally on the 10-nm array and on flat surfaces. However, 50-nm, 100-nm, and 200-nm nanodot arrays induced apoptosis-like events. Abnormality was triggered after as few as 24 h of incubation on a 200-nm dot array. For cells grown on the 50-nm array, the abnormality started after 72 h of incubation. The number of filopodia extended from the cell bodies was lower for the abnormal cells. Immunostaining using antibodies against vinculin and actin filament was performed. Both the number of focal adhesions and the amount of cytoskeleton were decreased in cells grown on the 100-nm and 200-nm arrays. Pre-coatings of fibronectin (FN) or type I collagen promoted cellular anchorage and prevented the nanotopography-induced programed cell death. In summary, nanotopography, in the form of nanodot arrays, induced an apoptosis-like abnormality for cultured NIH 3T3 cells. The occurrence of the abnormality was mediated by the formation of focal adhesions.


Cell adhesion Nanotopography Apoptosis Fibronectin Fibroblasts