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Tissue Eng. 2005 May-Jun;11(5-6):701-8.

Cell patterning on biological gels via cell spraying through a mask.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


We present an easily applicable and inexpensive method for patterning cells on arbitrary surfaces including biological gels with little loss of viability or function. Single-cell suspensions of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and NIH 3T3 fibroblasts were sprayed with an off-the-shelf airbrush through a mask to create 100-microm scale patterns on collagen gels. Three-dimensional patterns were created by layering a collagen gel on top of the first pattern and patterning the top gel. Coculture of rat hepatocytes with NIH 3T3 patterns on collagen gels resulted in localized increased activity of cytochrome P-450 along the pattern. These results suggest that cell spraying is a useful tool for the study of heterotypic cellular interactions and tissue-engineering applications on biologically relevant matrices, and for the creation of three-dimensional cell patterns in vitro.

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