Topographically controlled 3D cell environments

Zellen auf Schwarz P CLSM coloriert grossiba Heiligenstadt
Zellen auf Schwarz P CLSM coloriert gross

Cells in tissue are established in a 3D environment (matrix). It is now known that the properties of the matrix determine the properties of the cell. This is especially true for motile cells. Neutrophils, for example, move with amazing efficiency during inflammatory processes in order to reach the site of inflammation and thus contribute to the protection of the host. Conventional approaches of cell motility analysis are based on 2D environments in cell culture dishes. To get closer to in vivo conditions, we study cell migration in topographically adapted 3D environments.

To model a defined 3D environment, regular microstructures are generated on surfaces. These quasi-3D environments are suitable to study the motility of cells and the influence of external stimuli on the cells. For the fabrication of the microstructures different lithographic methods of embossing and etching can be used. For example, columnar structures with variable spacing and size are a standard 3D model for these studies.

The active movement of cells within the 3D environment is recorded microscopically. Motion tracking is performed by means of image analysis. The data then allow a causal evaluation of cell motility as a function of the 3D environment.

The results are particularly important for understanding the processes involved in tissue engineering.

Publications within this project: