Engineered topographical structure to control spatial cell density using cell migration

Biomed Microdevices. 2019 Nov 15;21(4):98. doi: 10.1007/s10544-019-0447-0.


Control of the spatial distribution of various cell types is required to construct functional tissues. Here, we report a simple topographical structure changed the spatial cell density. A concave curved boundary was designed, which allowed the spatial descent moving of cells and the change in spatial distributions of co-cultured cells. We utilized the difference in cell motility between myoblast cells (C2C12) and neuronal cells (PC12) to demonstrate the feasibility of spontaneous change in spatial cell density. Without the curved boundaries, high motility cells (C2C12) did not migrate to the adjacent area, which resulted in a slight temporal change (< 15%) in the spatial cell distribution. In contrast, with the curved boundaries, the cell density of the high motility cells in the groove to those cells on the ridge showed an increase exceeding 45%. On the other hand, the temporal change in the spatial cell distribution of low motility cells (PC12) was below 15% with or without the curved boundaries. In addition, as groove width increased, both cells displayed more initially gathering in groove. Importantly, these cell-type dependent results were also maintained under co-culture conditions. Our results suggest that designing topographical interfaces changes spatial cell density without any manipulation and is useful for multi-cellular constructs.

Keywords: Cell descent phenomenon; Cell migrational difference; Spatial cell density; Topographical structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Engineering / methods*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Mice
  • Myoblasts / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats