Cells respond to changes in the environment by altering their phenotype. The ability to influence cell behavior by modifying their environment provides an opportunity for therapeutic application, for example, to promote faster wound healing in response to skin injury. Here, we have modified the preparation of an aluminium oxide template to generate large uniform membranes with differing nano-pore sizes. Epidermal cells (keratinocytes) and dermal cells (fibroblasts) readily adhere to these nanoporous membranes. The pore size appears to influence the rate of cell proliferation and migration, important aspects of cell behavior during wound healing. The suitability of the membrane to act as a dressing after a burn injury was assessed in vivo; application of the membrane demonstrated adherence and conformability to the skin surface of a pig, with no observed degradation or detrimental effect on the repair. Our results suggest that keratinocytes are sensitive to changes in topography at the nanoscale level and that this property may be exploited to improve wound repair after tissue injury.
Parkinson, L. G., Giles, N. L., Adcroft, K. F., Fear, M. W., Poinern, G. E., & Wood, F. (2009). The Potential of Nanoporous Anodic Aluminium Oxide Membranes to Influence Skin Wound Repair. Tissue Engineering, 15(12), 3753-3763. https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2008.0594