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Exp Cell Res. 1986 May;164(1):11-26.

Fibroblasts on micromachined substrata orient hierarchically to grooves of different dimensions.


Contact guidance was studied by light, scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in cultures of human gingival fibroblasts cultured on grooved surfaces. The grooves were originally produced in silicon wafers by micromachining, a process which is based on the methods used to fabricate microelectronic components, and the grooved surfaces were then replicated in Epon. Micromachining enables precise control of groove depth, groove spacing, and groove shape to be obtained. In silicon wafers with appropriate crystal orientation, a second smaller set of grooves, called the minor grooves, is found on the floor of the major grooves. The minor grooves are oriented at a 54 degree angle to the major grooves, so that cells cultured on such surfaces are concurrently exposed to grooves of different dimensions which direct cell migration in different directions. Marked fibroblast alignment with the major grooves was observed both within the grooves and in the intervening flat ridges between the grooves. In addition, shallow and closely spaced grooves in epon or titanium-coated polymer or silicon were also capable of orienting fibroblasts. Although the minor grooves were able to orient fibroblasts in the absence of any other orienting influence, when fibroblasts were concurrently exposed to major and minor grooves the cells aligned themselves with the major grooves. TEM showed that the cellular filamentous cytoskeletal elements reflected the orientation of the cell as a whole. Fibroblasts on grooved substrata appeared to have more filopodia and to round up more frequently than fibroblasts cultured on flat substrata. It is suggested that both the mechanical properties of the cytoskeleton as well as the durability of the cellular attachment to groove edges may play a role in the contact guidance effected by grooved surfaces produced by micromachining.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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