In this study we investigated the contact characteristics of human prostate cancer cells (PC3) on silicon micropillar arrays with complex shapes by using high-resolution confocal fluorescence microscopy techniques. These arrays consist of micropillars that are of various cross-sectional geometries which produce different deformation profiles in adherent cells. Fluorescence micrographs reveal that some DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole)-stained nuclei from cells attached to the pillars develop nanometer scale slits and contain low concentrations of DNA. The lengths of these slits, and their frequency of occurrence, were characterized for various cross-sectional geometries. These DNA-depleted features are only observed in locations below the pillar's top surfaces. Results produced in this study indicate that surface topography can induce unique nanometer scale features in the PC3 cell.
Keywords: PC3 cells; contact mechanics; deformation; nanoindentation; pillars; silicon.