Biomimetic approaches to modulate cellular adhesion in biomaterials: A review

Maria B. Rahmany, Mark Van Dyke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Natural extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins possess critical biological characteristics that provide a platform for cellular adhesion and activation of highly regulated signaling pathways. However, ECM-based biomaterials can have several limitations, including poor mechanical properties and risk of immunogenicity. Synthetic biomaterials alleviate the risks associated with natural biomaterials but often lack the robust biological activity necessary to direct cell function beyond initial adhesion. A thorough understanding of receptor-mediated cellular adhesion to the ECM and subsequent signaling activation has facilitated development of techniques that functionalize inert biomaterials to provide a biologically active surface. Here we review a range of approaches used to modify biomaterial surfaces for optimal receptor-mediated cell interactions, as well as provide insights into specific mechanisms of downstream signaling activation. In addition to a brief overview of integrin receptor-mediated cell function, so-called "biomimetic" techniques reviewed here include (i) surface modification of biomaterials with bioadhesive ECM macromolecules or specific binding motifs, (ii) nanoscale patterning of the materials and (iii) the use of "natural-like" biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5431-5437
Number of pages7
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomaterial functionalization
  • Biomimetic
  • Integrin adhesion
  • Surface modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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