Specific cues provided to cells by the extracellular matrix (ECM) are determined by its composition. Except of collagens other naturally occurring ECM components should be considered in designing 3D models of diseases. We used spectrophotometric and rheological measurements and confocal imaging to characterise collagen matrices of human origin that can be modified by clinically relevant ECM components. pH of the neutralising solution, but not incubation of solidified collagen matrices in serum-free culture medium with pH 5.0-9.0 affected distribution of collagen fibres. Admixture of fibronectin or tenascin-C influenced assembly kinetics and resulted in slight increase in the Young's moduli of the matrices, indicating their incorporation into the collagen matrices. Co-localization of fibronectin with collagen fibres was confirmed by fluorescence imaging. Various cell types relevant for tumour tissue were able to proliferate within the matrices suggesting that they can be used to study role of ECM components in cancer in spatial models.
Keywords: 3D cell cultures; Collagen type I; Fibronectin; Reflection confocal microscopy; Rheology; Tenascin; UV-VIS spectroscopy.
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