Influence of surface topography on the human epithelial cell response to micropatterned substrates with convex and concave architectures

Mee-Hae Kim; Yoshiko Sawada; Masahito Taya; Masahiro Kino-oka
July 2014
Journal of Biological Engineering;2014, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p2
Academic Journal
Background Understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying the cellular response to topographical surface features will extend our knowledge regarding the regulation of cell functions. Analyzing the cellular response to different topographical features, over multiple temporal and spatial scales, is central to understanding and guiding several biological functions. We used micropatterned substrates with convex and concave architectures to evaluate the behaviors of human epithelial cells on these substrates. Results Pillar and pit substrates caused heterogeneous spatial growth and distribution, with differences in cell density, over 48 h. Regional densities and distribution were significantly increased at pillar sidewalls, and at pit sidewalls and bottoms compared with those on flat unpatterned areas. Time-lapse observations revealed that different mechanisms of cell migration were dependent upon pillar and pit features. Cells on pillar substrate migrated towards the sidewall, whereas cells on pit substrate tended to move towards the sidewalls and bottom. Cytoskeletal staining of F-actin and vinculin showed that this migration can be attributed to difference in spatial reorganization of actin cytoskeleton, and the formation of focal adhesions at various points on the at the convex and concave corners of pillar and pit substrates. Cells cultured on the pillar substrate had stress fibers with extended filopodia and immature focal contacts at the sidewalls and convex corners, similar to those on the flat unpatterned substrate. Cells at the sidewalls and concave corners of pit substrate had more contractile stress fibers and stable focal contacts compared with cells on the pillar substrate. We also found that the substrate structures affect cell-cell contact formation via E-cadherin, and that this was associated with reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton at the sidewall, and at the convex and concave corners of the substrate. Conclusion Migration is an important factor affecting spatial growth and distribution. Heterogeneity at various locations was caused by different migratory behaviors at the convex and concave corners of pillar and pit substrates. We propose that this investigation is a valuable method for understanding cell phenotypes and the heterogeneity during spatial growth and distribution of epithelial cells during culture.


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