eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2004   Volume No 7- pages 52-63

Title: Is there a predictable relationship between surface physical-chemical properties and cell behaviour at the interface?

Authors: J. Vitte, A. M. Benoliel, A. Pierres and P. Bongrand

Address: INSERM UMR600-CNRS FRE2059, Laboratoire d’Immunologie, Hôpital de Sainte-Marguerite, Marseille, France

E-mail: bongrand at

Key Words: Protein adsorption, DLVO theory, interfacial energy, ligand-receptor bonds, cell adhesion, cell signalling.

Publication date: June 30th 2004

Abstract: There is much interest in predicting and controlling the outcome of interaction between artificial surfaces and living cells. However, although there is an impressive amount of information on the behaviour of many cell populations deposited on a variety of surfaces, there is presently no available theory to explain or even summarize these data.
Indeed, it is not even obvious that such a theory may exist. The aim of the present review is to emphasize the problems encountered when one attempts to build such a theory. Three sequential steps of cell surface interactions are considered: 1) protein adsorption is a preliminary step liable to involve irreversible interaction between the surface and several hundreds of molecular species occurring in blood or plasma. 2) the second step is the formation of adhesive bonds. Several theoretical frameworks were suggested to account for this step, including DLVO theory, physical chemistry of surfaces, and formation of specific ligandreceptor bonds. It is concluded that present evidence supports the latter approach, although this involves serious difficulties. 3) The last step is the triggering of a specific cell program such as apoptosis, proliferation, migration, differentiation or activation. Recent evidence suggests that in addition to the nature and amount of stimulated surface receptors, additional cues such as substratum mechanical or topographical properties may significantly affect cell behaviour.

Article download: Pages 52-63. (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v007a06