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Preferred cell alignment along concave microgrooves

Sun, Baoce, Xie, Kai, Chen, Ting-Hsuan, Lam, Raymond H. W.
RSC advances 2017 v.7 no.11 pp. 6788-6794
blood vessels, endothelial cells, geometry, microfilaments, tissue engineering, topography
Geometrical cues in the extracellular environment are essential for guiding the direction of cells and tissue architectures. For example, nano/micro-scale topography such as grooves and fibrous scaffolds induces cell alignment and migration through contact guidance. However, previous research has focused on patterns with scales ranging from nanometers to several microns. It remains unclear how cell behavior is affected by geometric cues at larger scales, such as the cylindrical curvature in the interior surface of blood vessels. Here, using microfabricated concave microgrooves to culture vascular endothelial cells, we examine how the radius of curvature affects cell body characteristics including shape, spreading area, and preferred alignment along the microgroove direction. Furthermore, analysis of subcellular actin filaments reveals that subcellular stress fibers play an essential role in such morphological response. Together, our findings not only broaden the knowledge basis of surface curvature as a biophysical factor but also offer cell characterization and contact guidance strategies for future cell and tissue engineering applications.