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Acta Biomater. 2010 Nov;6(11):4238-48. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2010.06.014. Epub 2010 Jun 19.

Manipulation of the adhesive behaviour of skeletal muscle cells on soft and stiff polyelectrolyte multilayers.

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Minatec, Grenoble Institute of Technology and LMGP, 3 Parvis Louis Néel, F-38016 Grenoble Cedex, France.


Polyelectrolyte multilayer coatings have emerged as substrates to control a variety of cell behaviour, including adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. In particular, it is possible to modulate film stiffness by physical or chemical cross-linking. In this study, we evaluate the adhesive behaviour of skeletal muscle cells (C2C12 myoblasts) during the initial steps of spreading on layer-by-layer films of controlled stiffness made of poly(L-lysine) and hyaluronan as model biomaterial surfaces for muscle tissue engineering. We show that integrin clustering, integrin actin cytoskeleton connection and focal adhesion formation for cell spreading can be decoupled by controlling film stiffness. This made it possible to switch the cells morphologically between round and spreading shapes depending on the stiffness of the microenvironment. Although hyaluronan is one of the main components of cross-linked multilayer films, the HA receptor CD44 did not appear to mediate early adhesion as suggested by the use of blocking antibodies. In contrast, integrins were found to play a pivotal role in early adhesion: their activation significantly enhanced C2C12 myoblast spreading on soft films, where they were otherwise round. Integrin clustering was also induced by the softer films and enhanced on the stiffest films. Conversely, the use of soluble inhibitors or blocking antibodies directed against integrins induced a round phenotype on stiff films, where cells were well spread out in control conditions. We show that specific integrins were involved in the adhesion process as blocking β(3), but not β(1), integrins inhibited cell adhesion. These soft, stiff films can thus be used to tune the adhesion of C2C12 myoblasts, an early key event in myogenesis, via integrin clustering and subsequent signalling. They may be further used to decorticate the signalling pathways associated with β(3) integrins.

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