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Cell-Imprint Surface Modification by Contact Photolithography-Based Approaches: Direct-Cell Photolithography and Optical Soft Lithography Using PDMS Cell Imprints

Kavand, Hanie, van Lintel, Harald, Bakhshi Sichani, Soroush, Bonakdar, Shahin, Kavand, Hamed, Koohsorkhi, Javad, Renaud, Philippe
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2019 v.11 no.11 pp. 10559-10566
chondrocytes, materials science, mesenchymal stromal cells, physicochemical properties
New cell-imprint surface modification techniques based on direct-cell photolithography and optical soft lithography using poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) cell imprints are presented for enhanced cell-based studies. The core concept of engineering materials for cell-based studies is the material’s ability to redesign the physicochemical characteristics of the cellular niche. There is a growing interest in direct molding from cells (cell imprinting). These negative copies of cell surface topographies have been shown to affect cell shape and direct mesenchymal stem cells’ differentiation. Analyzing the results is however challenging as cells seeded on these substrates do not always end up in a cell pattern, which leads to decreased effectiveness and biased quantification. To gain control over cell seeding into the patterns and avoid unwanted cell population outside of the patterns, the cell-imprinted surface needs to be modified. From this perspective, the standard optical contact lithography process was modified and cells were introduced to the cleanroom. Direct-cell photolithography was used for a single-step PDMS cell-imprint (chondrocytes as the molding template) surface modification down to single-cell (approximately 5 μm in diameter) resolution. As cells come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and optical profiles, a complementary optical soft lithography-based photomask fabrication technique is also reported. The simplicity of the fabrication process makes this cell-imprint surface modification technique compatible with any adherent cell type and leads to efficient cell-based studies.