Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Cell Res. 1986 Nov;167(1):203-17.

Spreading and orientation of epithelial cells on grooved substrata.


The spreading and orientation of epithelial (E) cells was studied on titanium-coated grooved substrata by light, transmission (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Vertical-walled grooves and V-shaped grooves, 3-60 microns deep, were produced in silicon wafers by micromachining, a process which was developed for the fabrication of micro-electronic components, and the grooved substrata were replicated in Epon. Photolithography was used to prepare photoresist-based and silicon dioxide-silicon substrata with grooves of approximately 2 and approximately 0.5 micron deep, respectively. Cell clusters were markedly oriented by all the grooved substrata examined, with the orientation index being highest for substrata with grooves of the smallest repeat spacing. Time-lapse cinemicrography showed that the grooves directed the migration of E cells, but the control was not absolute, as some cells crossed over the ridges and descended into the grooves. The 0.5 micron grooves appeared less effective than the deeper grooves in directing cell locomotion. SEM and TEM of E cells spreading on the grooved substrata demonstrated that cell processes, including lamellae and filopodia, were capable of bending around and closely adapting to groove edges. E cells did not flatten as extensively on a substratum with 22 microns deep V-shaped grooves as on a smooth surface, although some cells were markedly elongated. One mechanism proposed to explain contact guidance of fibroblasts is that linear elements of the locomotory system, such as microfilament bundles, are unable to operate when bent. The observed flexibility of epithelial cell processes and the ability of substrata with shallow grooves to orient E cells indicate that contact guidance of E cells on micromachined substrata cannot be explained by the mechanical stiffness of long linear cytoskeletal elements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center