Resistance to protein adsorption and adhesion of fibroblasts on nanocrystalline diamond films: the role of topography and boron doping

  • María Alcaide
  • Stavros Papaioannou
  • Andrew Taylor
  • Ladislav Fekete
  • Leonid Gurevich
  • Vladimir Zachar
  • Cristian Pablo Pennisi
Engineering and Nano-engineering Approaches for Medical Devices Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Engineering and Nano-engineering Approaches for Medical Devices


Boron-doped nanocrystalline diamond (BNCD) films exhibit outstanding electrochemical properties that make them very attractive for the fabrication of electrodes for novel neural interfaces and prosthetics. In these devices, the physicochemical properties of the electrode materials are critical to ensure an efficient long-term performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative contribution of topography and doping to the biological performance of BNCD films. For this purpose, undoped and boron-doped NCD films were deposited on low roughness (LR) and high roughness (HR) substrates, which were studied in vitro by means of protein adsorption and fibroblast growth assays. Our results show that BNCD films significantly reduce the adsorption of serum proteins, mostly on the LR substrates. As compared to fibroblasts cultured on LR BNCD films, cells grown on the HR BNCD films showed significantly reduced adhesion and lower growth rates. The mean length of fibronectin fibrils deposited by the cells was significantly increased in the BNCD coated substrates, mainly in the LR surfaces. Overall, the largest influence on protein adsorption, cell adhesion, proliferation, and fibronectin deposition was due to the underlying sub-micron topography, with little or no influence of boron doping. In perspective, BNCD films displaying surface roughness in the submicron range may be used as a strategy to reduce the fibroblast growth on the surface of neural electrodes.

Graphical Abstract


Protein Adsorption Diamond Film High Roughness Boron Doping Nanocrystalline Diamond 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the EU through the project MERIDIAN (Micro and Nano Engineered Bi-Directional Carbon Interfaces for Advanced Peripheral Nervous System Prosthetics and Hybrid Bionics), Contract No. 280778-02.


AFM equipment was funded by Czech Republic Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports—FUNBIO CZ.2.16/3.1.00/21568.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Stem Cell Research, Department of Health Science and TechnologyAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Physics, ASCR v.v.i.PragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Nano6 s.r.o.KladnoCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Physics and NanotechnologyAalborg UniversityAalborg ∅Denmark

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