The control of cell adhesion and viability by zinc oxide nanorods. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ability to control the behavior of cells that interact with implanted biomaterials is desirable for the success of implanted devices such as biosensors or drug delivery devices. There is a need to develop materials that can limit the adhesion and viability of cells on implanted biomaterials. In this study, we investigated the use of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods for modulating the adhesion and viability of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts, umbilical vein endothelial cells, and capillary endothelial cells. Cells adhered far less to ZnO nanorods than the corresponding ZnO flat substrate. The few cells that adhered to ZnO nanorods were rounded and not viable compared to the flat ZnO substrate. Cells were unable to assemble focal adhesions and stress fibers on nanorods. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that cells were not able to assemble lamellipodia on nanorods. Time-lapse imaging revealed that cells that initially adhered to nanorods were not able to spread. This suggests that it is the lack of initial spreading, rather than long-term exposure to ZnO that causes cell death. We conclude that ZnO nanorods are potentially useful as an adhesion-resistant biomaterial capable of reducing viability in anchorage-dependent cells.

published proceedings

  • Biomaterials

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, J., Kang, B. S., Hicks, B., Chancellor, T. F., Chu, B. H., Wang, H., ... Lele, T. P.

citation count

  • 168

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Jiyeon||Kang, BS||Hicks, Barrett||Chancellor, Thomas F||Chu, Byung Hwan||Wang, Hung-Ta||Keselowsky, Benjamin G||Ren, F||Lele, Tanmay P

publication date

  • September 2008