26 June 2017 Label-free investigation of the effects of lithium niobate polarization on cell adhesion
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The determination of contact area is pivotal to understand how biomaterials properties influence cell adhesion. In particular, the influence of surface charges is well-known but still controversial, especially when new functional materials and methods are introduced. Here, we use for the first time Holographic Total Internal Reflection Microscopy (HoloTIRM) to study the influence of the spontaneous polarization of ferroelectric lithium niobate (LN) on the adhesion properties of fibroblast cells. The selective illumination of a very thin region directly above the substrate, achieved by Total Internal Reflection, provides high-contrast images of the contact regions. Holographic recording, on the other hand, allows for label-free quantitative phase imaging of the contact areas between cells and LN. Phase signal is more sensitive in the first 100nm and, thus more reliable in order to locate focal contacts. This work shows that cells adhering on negatively polarized LN present a significant increase of the contact area in comparison with cells adhering on the positively polarized LN substrate, as well as an intensification of contact vicinity. This confirms the potential of LN as a platform for investigating the role of charges on cellular processes. The similarity of cell adhesion behavior on negatively polarized LN and glass control also confirms the possibility to use LN as an active substrate without impairing cell behavior.
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B. Mandracchia, B. Mandracchia, O. Gennari, O. Gennari, M. Paturzo, M. Paturzo, S. Grilli, S. Grilli, P. Ferraro, P. Ferraro, } "Label-free investigation of the effects of lithium niobate polarization on cell adhesion", Proc. SPIE 10333, Optical Methods for Inspection, Characterization, and Imaging of Biomaterials III, 103330S (26 June 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2271839; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2271839

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