Adhesion and Proliferation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Dental Pulp on Porous Silicon Scaffolds

In regenerative medicine, stem-cell-based therapy often requires a scaffold to deliver cells and/or growth factors to the injured site. Porous silicon (pSi) is a promising biomaterial for tissue engineering as it is both nontoxic and bioresorbable. Moreover, surface modification can offer control over the degradation rate of pSi and can also promote cell adhesion. Dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) are pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells found within the teeth and constitute a readily source of stem cells. Thus, coupling the good proliferation and differentiation capacities of DPSC with the textural and chemical properties of the pSi substrates provides an interesting approach for therapeutic use. In this study, the behavior of human DPSC is analyzed on pSi substrates presenting pores of various sizes, 10 ± 2 nm, 36 ± 4 nm, and 1.0 ± 0.1 μm, and undergoing different chemical treatments, thermal oxidation, silanization with aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES), and hydrosilylation with undecenoic acid or semicarbazide. DPSC adhesion and proliferation were followed for up to 72 h by fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), enzymatic activity assay, and BrdU assay for mitotic activity. Porous silicon with 36 nm pore size was found to offer the best adhesion and the fastest growth rate for DPSC compared to pSi comporting smaller pore size (10 nm) or larger pore size (1 μm), especially after silanization with APTES. Hydrosilylation with semicarbazide favored cell adhesion and proliferation, especially mitosis after cell adhesion, but such chemical modification has been found to led to a scaffold that is stable for only 24–48 h in culture medium. Thus, semicarbazide-treated pSi appeared to be an appropriate scaffold for stem cell adhesion and immediate in vivo transplantation, whereas APTES-treated pSi was found to be more suitable for long-term in vitro culture, for stem cell proliferation and differentiation.