Nanofibers are thought to enhance cell adhesion, growth, and function. We demonstrate that the choice of building blocks in self-assembling nanofiber systems can be used to control cell behavior. The use of 2 D-coated, self-assembled nanofibers in controlling lens epithelial cells, fibroblasts, and mesenchymal stem cells was investigated, focusing on gene and protein expression related to the fibrotic response. To this end, three nanofibers with different characteristics (morphology, topography, and wettability) were compared with two standard materials frequently used in culturing cells, TCPS, and a collagen type I coating. Cell metabolic activity, cell morphology, and gene and protein expression were analyzed. The most hydrophilic nanofiber with more compact network consisting of small fibers proved to provide a beneficial 2 D environment for cell proliferation and matrix formation while decreasing the fibrotic/stress behavior in all cell lines when compared with TCPS and the collagen type I coating. This nanofiber demonstrates the potential to be used as a biomimetic coating to study the development of fibrosis through epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. This study also shows that nanofiber structures do not enhance cell function by definition, because the physico-chemical characteristics of the nanofibers influence cell behavior as well and actually can be used to regulate cell behavior toward suboptimal performance. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2017.
- MUSCLE REGENERATION
- epithelia-mesenchymal transition
- self-assembled nanofibers; coating
- cellular stress