Near-Infrared-Triggered Dynamic Surface Topography for Sequential Modulation of Macrophage Phenotypes

Immune response is critical to tissue repair. Designing biomaterials with immunomodulatory functions has become a promising strategy to facilitate tissue repair. Considering the key roles of macrophages in tissue repair and the significance of the balance of M1 and M2, smart biomaterials, which can harness macrophage phenotypes dynamically to match the tissue healing process on demand, have attracted a lot of attention to be set apart from the traditional anti-inflammatory biomaterials. Here, we prepare a gold nanorod-contained shape memory polycaprolactone film with dynamic surface topography, which has the ability to be transformed from flat to microgrooved under near-infrared (NIR) irradiation. Based on the close relationships between the morphologies and the phenotypes of macrophages, the NIR-triggered surface transformation induces the elongation of macrophages, and consequently the upregulated expressions of arginase-1 and IL-10 in vitro, indicating the change of macrophage phenotypes. The sequential modulation of macrophage phenotypes by dynamic surface topography is further confirmed in an in vivo implantation test. The healing-matched modulation of macrophage phenotypes by dynamic surface topography without the stimuli of cytokines offers an effective and noninvasive strategy to manipulate tissue regenerative immune reactions to achieve optimized healing outcomes.