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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2014 May;102(5):1361-9. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34814. Epub 2013 Jun 11.

One-dimensional patterning of cells in silicone wells via compression-induced fracture.

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  • 1Toxicology Program, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


We have adapted our existing compression-induced fracture technology to cell culture studies by generating linear patterns on a complex cell culture well structure rather than on simple solid constructs. We present a simple method to create one-dimensional (1D), submicron, and linear patterns of extracellular matrix on a multilayer silicone material. We identified critical design parameters necessary to optimize compression-induced fracture patterning on the wells, and applied stresses using compression Hoffman clamps. Finite-element analyses show that the incorporation of the well improves stress homogeneity (stress variation = 25%), and, thus, crack uniformity over the patterned region. Notably, a shallow well with a thick base (vs. deeper wells with thinner bases) reduces out-of-plane deflections by greater than a sixth in the cell culture region, improving clarity for optical imaging. The comparison of cellular and nuclear shape indices of a neuroblast line cultured on patterned 1D lines and unpatterned 2D surfaces reveals significant differences in cellular morphology, which could impact many cellular functions. Because 1D cell cultures recapitulate many important phenotypical traits of 3D cell cultures, our culture system offers a simple means to further study the relationship between 1D and 3D cell culture environments, without demanding expensive engineering techniques and expertise.

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


biomaterial design; compression; fracture; patterning; polydimethyl siloxane

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