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Cell guidance by ultrafine topography in vitro

CLARK, P and CONNOLLY, P and CURTIS, A S G and DOW, J A T and WILKINSON, C D W (1991) Cell guidance by ultrafine topography in vitro. Journal of Cell Science, 99. pp. 73-77. ISSN 0021-9533

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Abstract

Laser holography and microelectronic fabrication techniques have been employed to make grating surfaces in fused quartz with ultrafine period (260 nm) in an attempt to mimic the topography of aligned fibrillar extracellular matrix (ECM), which, in the past, has been shown to affect the behaviour of cells in vitro and in vivo. The alignment of BHK cells, MDCK cells and chick embryo cerebral neurones on 260 nm period grating surfaces (130 nm grooves separated by 130 nm) of various depths (100, 210 and 400 nm) was examined. While all gratings aligned BHK cell populations, the degree of alignment was dependent on depth. The response of single MDCK cells to the grating patterns was both to align precisely to the direction of the gratings, and to elongate; only their elongation was depth-dependent. MDCK cells that were part of epithelial cell islands, and the outgrowth of neurites from chick embryo neurones, were mainly unaffected by the grating surfaces. It is clear that topography on this scale can control cell behaviour, but guidance of this type is strongly dependent on cell type and cell-cell interactions.