Modulation of surface stiffness and cell patterning on polymer films using micropatterns

J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2018 Apr;106(3):976-985. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33905. Epub 2017 May 5.


Here, a new technology was developed to selectively produce areas of high and low surface Young's modulus on biomedical polymer films using micropatterns. First, an elastic polymer film was adhered to a striped micropattern to fabricate a micropattern-supported film. Next, the topography and Young's modulus of the film surface were mapped using atomic force microscopy. Contrasts between the concave and convex locations of the stripe pattern were obvious in the Young's modulus map, although the topographical map of the film surface appeared almost flat. The concave and convex locations of a polymer film supported by a different micropattern also contrasted clearly. The resulting Young's modulus map showed that the Young's modulus was higher at convex locations than at concave locations. Hence, regions of high and low stiffness can be locally generated based on the shape of the micropattern supporting the film. When cells were cultured on the micropattern-supported films, NIH3T3 fibroblasts preferentially accumulated in convex regions with high Young's moduli. These findings demonstrate that this new technology can regulate regions of high and low surface Young's modulus on a cellular scaffold with high planar resolution, as well as providing a method for directing cellular patterning. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 106B: 976-985, 2018.

Keywords: cell patterning; cell scaffolds; micropatterning; polymer films; surface stiffness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Elasticity
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Mice
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polyvinyl Chloride / chemistry
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Scaffolds


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers
  • Polyvinyl Chloride