Influence of mineral coatings on fibroblast behaviour: The importance of coating formulation and experimental design

Diosangeles Soto Veliz*, Ruut Kummala, Tiffany Abitbol, Martti Toivakka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Mineral coatings manipulate surface properties such as roughness, porosity, wettability and surface energy. Properties that are known to determine cell behaviour. Therefore, mineral coatings can potentially be used to manipulate cell fate. This paper studies mineral-cell interactions through coatings in a stacked cell culture platform. Minerals were chosen according to their influence on Human Dermal Fibroblasts (HDFs): calcium carbonate, calcium sulphates, and kaolin. Mineral coatings were formulated with the additives latex, sorbitol, polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) and TEMPO-oxidised cellulose nanofibrils (CNF-T). The coatings were placed as a bottom or top of the device, for a direct or indirect interaction with HDFs, respectively. Cells were seeded, in various densities, to the bottom of the device; and cell density and confluency were monitored in time. Overall, results show that the coating interaction is influenced at first by the cell seeding density. Scarce cell seeding density limits adaptability to the new environment, while an abundant one encourages confluency in time. In between those densities, coating formulation plays the next major role. Calcium carbonate promoted HDFs growth the most as expected, but the response to the rest of minerals depended on the coating additive. CNF-T encouraged proliferation even for kaolin, a mineral with long-term toxicity to HDFs, while PVOH induced a detrimental effect on HDF growth regardless of the mineral. At last, the placement of the coated layer provided insights on the contact-dependency of each response. This study highlights the importance of the experimental design, including coating formulation, when investigating cellular response to biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112059
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cell culture platform
  • Coatings
  • Mineral
  • Nanocellulose
  • Polyvinyl alcohol


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