The effect of surface modification of mesoporous silica micro-rod scaffold on immune cell activation and infiltration

Biomaterials. 2016 Mar:83:249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.01.026. Epub 2016 Jan 11.


Biomaterial scaffold based vaccines show significant potential in generating potent antigen-specific immunity. However, the role of the scaffold surface chemistry in initiating and modulating the immune response is not well understood. In this study, a mesoporous silica micro-rod (MSR) scaffold was modified with PEG, PEG-RGD and PEG-RDG groups. PEG modification significantly enhanced BMDC activation marker up-regulation and IL-1β production in vitro, and innate immune cell infiltration in vivo. PEG-RGD MSRs and PEG-RDG MSRs displayed decreased inflammation compared to PEG MSRs, and the effect was not RGD specific. Finally, the Nlrp3 inflammasome was found to be necessary for MSR stimulated IL-1β production in vitro and played a key role in regulating immune cell infiltration in vivo. These findings suggest that simply modulating the surface chemistry of a scaffold can regulate its immune cell infiltration profile and have implications for the design and development of new material based vaccines.

Keywords: Acute inflammation; Inflammasome; Mesoporous silica; Poly(ethylene glycol); RGD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Porosity
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammasomes
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Nlrp3 protein, mouse
  • Silicon Dioxide