Osteoimmunomodulatory potential of 3D printed submicron patterns assessed in a direct co-culture model

M. Nouri-Goushki*, B. I.M. Eijkel, M. Minneboo, L. E. Fratila-Apachitei*, A. A. Zadpoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Modulation of the immune response following the implantation of biomaterials can have beneficial effects on bone regeneration. This involves complex interactions between the inflammatory and osteogenic cells. Therefore, the study of cell-cell interactions using direct co-culture models integrated with biomaterials is of great interest. This research aimed to study the viability, morphology, and osteogenic activity of preosteoblasts (OBs) co-cultured with pro-inflammatory macrophages (M1s) on the 3D printed (non)patterned surfaces. OBs and M1s remained alive and proliferated actively for 14 days in the mixture of Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) and alpha Minimum Essential Medium (α-MEM) (1:1), regardless of the cell ratio in the co-cultures. The spatial organization of the two types of cells changed with the time of culture from an initially uniform cell distribution to the formation of a thick layer of OBs covered by clusters of M1s. On day 7, the expression of PGE2 and TNF-α were upregulated in the co-culture relative to the mono-culture of OBs and M1s. The inflammation decreased differentiation and matrix mineralization of OBs after 28 days of culture. Interestingly, the incorporation of 3D printed submicron pillars into the direct co-culture model enhanced the differentiation of preosteoblasts, as shown by relatively higher RUNX2 expression, thereby revealing the osteoimmunomodulatory potential of such surface patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212993
Number of pages9
JournalBiomaterials Advances
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Immunoengineering
  • Osteoimmunomodulation
  • Submicron pillars

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