Novel micropatterns mechanically control fibrotic reactions at the surface of silicone implants
Over the past decade, various implantable devices have been developed to treat diseases that were previously difficult to manage such diabetes, chronic pain, and neurodegenerative disorders. However, translation of these novel technologies into clinical practice is often difficult because fibrotic encapsu- lation and/or rejection impairs device function after body implantation. Ideally, cells of the host tissue should perceive the surface of the implant being similar to the normal extracellular matrix. Here, we developed an innovative approach to provide implant surfaces with adhesive protein micropatterns. The patterns were designed to promote adhesion of fibroblasts and macrophages by simultaneously sup- pressing fibrogenic activation of both cell types. In a rat model, subcutaneously implanted silicone pads provided with the novel micropatterns caused 6-fold lower formation of inflammatory giant cells compared with clinical grade, uncoated, or collagen-coated silicone implants. We further show that micropatterning of implants resulted in 2e3-fold reduced numbers of pro-fibrotic myofibroblast by inhibiting their mechanical activation. Our novel approach allows controlled cell attachment to implant surfaces, representing a critical advance for enhanced biointegration of implantable medical devices.