Published: April 2021
Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are widely represented in regenerative medicine clinical strategies due to their compatibility with autologous implantation. Effective bone regeneration involves crosstalk between macrophages and hMSCs, with macrophages playing a key role in the recruitment and differentiation of hMSCs. However, engineered biomaterials able to simultaneously direct hMSC fate and modulate macrophage phenotype have not yet been identified. A novel combinatorial chemistry-topography screening platform, the ChemoTopoChip, is used here to identify materials suitable for bone regeneration by screening 1008 combinations in each experiment for human immortalized mesenchymal stem cell (hiMSCs) and human macrophage response. The osteoinduction achieved in hiMSCs cultured on the “hit” materials in basal media is comparable to that seen when cells are cultured in osteogenic media, illustrating that these materials offer a materials-induced alternative to osteo-inductive supplements in bone-regeneration. Some of these same chemistry-microtopography combinations also exhibit immunomodulatory stimuli, polarizing macrophages towards a pro-healing phenotype. Maximum control of cell response is achieved when both chemistry and topography are recruited to instruct the required cell phenotype, combining synergistically. The large combinatorial library allows us for the first time to probe the relative cell-instructive roles of microtopography and material chemistry which we find to provide similar ranges of cell modulation for both cues. Machine learning is used to generate structure-activity relationships that identify key chemical and topographical features enhancing the response of both cell types, providing a basis for a better understanding of cell response to micro topographically patterned polymers.
Full Access Link: Biomaterials