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Preferential sensing and response to microenvironment stiffness of human dermal fibroblast cultured on protein micropatterns fabricated by 3D multiphoton biofabrication

By Ming Hui Tong, Nan Huang, Alfonso Hing Wan Ngan, Yanan Du and Barbara Pui Chan


Abstract While cells are known to sense and respond to their niche including the matrix and the mechanical microenvironment, whether they preferentially sense and react to the stiffness of their microenvironment regardless of its intrinsic material properties is unknown. In this work, protein micropillar arrays with independently controllable stiffness via alterations in pillar height and elastic modulus via laser power used during photochemical cross-linking, were fabricated using a recently developed multiphoton-based 3D protein micro-patterning technology. Human dermal fibroblasts were cultured on these micropillar arrays and the specific interactions between cells and the protein micropatterns particularly on the formation and maturation of the cell-matrix adhesions, were investigated via immunofluorescence staining of the major molecular markers of the adhesions and the measurement of their cluster size, respectively. Our results showed that the cluster size of focal adhesions increased as the stiffness of the micropillar arrays increased, but it was insensitive to the elastic modulus of the protein micropillars that is one of the intrinsic material properties. This finding provides evidence to the notion that cells preferentially sense and react to the stiffness, but not the elastic modulus of their microenvironment

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-017-12604-z
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