Fabrication of Substrates with Defined Mechanical Properties and Topographical Features for the Study of Cell Migration

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Abstract

Both substrate topography and substrate mechanical properties are known to influence cell behavior, but little is known about how they act in concert. Here, a method is presented to introduce topographical features into PA hydrogel substrates that span a wide range of physiological E values. Gel swelling plays a significant role in the fidelity of protruding micromolded features, with the most efficient pattern transfer occurring at a crosslinking concentration equal to or greater than ≈5%. In contrast, swelling does not influence the spacing fidelity of microcontact printed islands of collagen on 2D PA substrates. BAECs cultured on micromolded PA substrates exhibit contact guidance along ridges patterned for all E tested.

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