Oxidized porous silicon (PS) is a common topographical biocompatible substrate that potentially provides a distinct in vitro environment for better understanding of in vivo behavior. But in the reported studies on oxidized PS, cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions have been detected only by fluorescent labeling. This paper is the first attempt to investigate real-time sensing of these interactions on HaCaT cells by label-free impedance spectroscopy on oxidized PS of two pore diameters (50 and 500 nm). One of the major requirements for successful impedance spectroscopy measurement is to restrict the channeling of electric field lines through the pores. To satisfy this criterion, we have designed the pore depths after analyzing the penetration of the medium by using computational fluid dynamics simulation. A distributed electrical model was also developed for estimating the various cellular attributes by considering a pseudorandom distribution of pores. It is observed from the impedance measurements and from the model that the proliferation rate increases for 50 nm pores but decreases for 500 nm pores compared to that for planar substrates. The rate of decrease in cell substrate separation (h) in the initial stage is more than the rate of increase in cell-cell junction resistance (Rb) corresponding to the initial adhesion phase of cells. It is observed that Rb and h are higher for 50 nm pores than those for planar substrates, corresponding to the fact that substrates more conducive toward cell adhesion encourage cell-cell interactions than direct cell-substrate interactions. Thus, the impedance spectroscopy coupled with the proposed theoretical framework for PS substrates can sense and quantify the cellular interactions.

You do not currently have access to this content.