The influence of gold surface texture on microglia morphology and activation†
Microglial cells play a critical role in the propagation of neuroinflammation in the central nervous system. Microglia sense and respond to environmental signals including chemical, physical and biological cues from the surrounding cell/tissue components. In this project, our goal was to examine the effects of surface texture on BV-2 microglia morphology and function by comparing flat and nanoporous gold (np-Au) surfaces to the more conventional glass. The biocompatibility of np-Au with microglia was evaluated using functional cell assays and high resolution imaging with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Microglia seeded on glass, ultra-flat gold (UF-Au), ultra-thin (UT) np-Au and np-Au monolith were adherent to all surfaces and their viability was not compromised as assessed by multiple toxicity assays. SEM revealed detailed morphological characteristics of adherent microglia and indicated few dramatic changes as a result of the different surfaces. Microglia proliferation was hampered by np-Au monolith but less by UT np-Au and not at all on UF-Au or glass. Microglial activation, measured by tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) production, was fully functional (and equivalent) on all gold surfaces compared to glass. The present findings should help further the understanding of basic microglia biology on textured surfaces and more fully evaluate np-Au as a multi-functional biocompatible material. The knowledge obtained and technology developed will have a significant impact in the fabrication of nanoelectronic devices, chemical sensor development, porous nanostructured materials for BioMEMs/NEMs integration, and functional biomaterial coatings for drug delivery.