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Biomaterials. 2013 Jan;34(2):353-60. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.09.071. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Directing cell migration in continuous microchannels by topographical amplification of natural directional persistence.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45220, USA.


Discrete micropatterns on biomaterial surfaces can be used to guide the direction of mammalian cell movement by orienting cell morphology. However, guiding cell assembly in three-dimensional scaffolds remains a challenge. Here we demonstrate that the random motions of motile cells can be rectified within continuous microchannels without chemotactic gradients or fluid flow. Our results show that uniform width microchannels with an overhanging zigzag design can induce polarization of NIH3T3 fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells by expanding the cell front at each turn. These continuous zigzag microchannels can guide the direction of cell movement even for cells with altered intracellular signals that promote random movement. This approach for directing cell migration within microchannels has important potential implications in the design of scaffolds for tissue engineering.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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