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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2013 Jan;24(1):189-98. doi: 10.1007/s10856-012-4785-1. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Simplified microenvironments and reduced cell culture size influence the cell differentiation outcome in cellular microarrays.

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  • 1Nanobioengineering Group, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain. sarodris@clinic.ub.es

Abstract

Cellular microarrays present a promising tool for multiplex evaluation of the signalling effect of substrate-immobilized factors on cellular differentiation. In this paper, we compare the early myoblast-to-osteoblast cell commitment steps in response to a growth factor stimulus using standard well plate differentiation assays or cellular microarrays. Our results show that restraints on the cell culture size, inherent to cellular microarrays, impair the differentiation outcome. Also, while cells growing on spots with immobilised BMP-2 are early biased towards the osteoblast fate, longer periods of cell culturing in the microarrays result in cell proliferation and blockage of osteoblast differentiation. The results presented here raise concerns about the efficiency of cell differentiation when the cell culture dimensions are reduced to a simplified microspot environment. Also, these results suggest that further efforts should be devoted to increasing the complexity of the microspots composition, aiming to replace signalling cues missing in this system.

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