Influence of substratum surface chemistry/energy and topography on the human fetal osteoblastic cell line hFOB 1.19: Phenotypic and genotypic responses observed in vitro

Xiaomei Liu, Jung Yul Lim, Henry J. Donahue, Ravi Dhurjati, Andrea M. Mastro, Erwin A. Vogler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Time-dependent phenotypic response of a model osteoblast cell line (hFOB 1.19, ATCC, and CRL-11372) to substrata with varying surface chemistry and topography is reviewed within the context of extant cell-adhesion theory. Cell-attachment and proliferation kinetics are compared using morphology as a leading indicator of cell phenotype. Expression of (α2, α3, α4, α5, αv, β1, and β3) integrins, vinculin, as well as secretion of osteopontin (OP) and type I collagen (Col I) supplement this visual assessment of hFOB growth. It is concluded that significant cell-adhesion events-contact, attachment, spreading, and proliferation-are similar on all surfaces, independent of substratum surface chemistry/energy. However, this sequence of events is significantly delayed and attenuated on hydrophobic (poorly water-wettable) surfaces exhibiting characteristically low-attachment efficiency and long induction periods before cells engage in an exponential-growth phase. Results suggest that a 'time-cell-substratum-compatibility-superposition principle' is at work wherein similar bioadhesive outcomes can be ultimately achieved on all surface types with varying hydrophilicity, but the time required to arrive at this outcome increases with decreasing cell-substratum-compatibility. Genomic and proteomic tools offer unprecedented opportunity to directly measure changes in the cellular machinery that lead to observed cell responses to different materials. But for the purpose of measuring structure-property relationships that can guide biomaterial development, genomic/proteomic tools should be applied early in the adhesion/spreading process before cells have an opportunity to significantly remodel the cell-substratum interface, effectively erasing cause and effect relationships between cell-substratum-compatibility and substratum properties. Impact Statement: This review quantifies relationships among cell phenotype, substratum surface chemistry/energy, topography, and cell-substratum contact time for the model osteoblast cell line hFOB 1.19, revealing that genomic/proteomic tools are most useful in the pursuit of understanding cell adhesion if applied early in the adhesion/spreading process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4535-4550
Number of pages16
Issue number31
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell-substratum-compatibility
  • Osteoblast
  • Surface chemistry
  • Surface energy
  • hFOB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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