Three-dimensional lithographically defined organotypic tissue arrays for quantitative analysis of morphogenesis and neoplastic progression

Nat Protoc. 2008;3(4):674-8. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.35.


Here, we describe a simple micromolding method to construct three-dimensional arrays of organotypic epithelial tissue structures that approximate in vivo histology. An elastomeric stamp containing an array of posts of defined geometry and spacing is used to mold microscale cavities into the surface of type I collagen gels. Epithelial cells are seeded into the cavities and covered with a second layer of collagen. The cells reorganize into hollow tissues corresponding to the geometry of the cavities. Patterned tissue arrays can be produced in 3-4 h and will undergo morphogenesis over the following 1-3 d. The protocol can easily be adapted to study a variety of tissues and aspects of normal and neoplastic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Collagen Type I / chemistry
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Human / cytology
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Collagen Type I