Author(s): Powers MJ, GriffithCima L
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Abstract Aggregation of hepatocytes in culture is an important phenomenon to control in tissue engineering applications. Aggregation generally enhances maintenance of differentiated functions but inhibits cell growth. At present there exists insufficient information for rational design of substrata that control aggregation. Indeed, the cellular mechanism(s) underlying the aggregation process is poorly understood, although cell motility is generally considered to be an essential phenomenon. In this article we provide the first study investigating the relationship between hepatocyte aggregation and motility behavior on various extracellular matrix substrata, including Matrigel, laminin, and fibronectin. We find that the extent of aggregation depends on the concentration of the extracellular matrix proteins, as well as on the type. Furthermore, we find that the extent of aggregation appears to be independent of classical single-cell locomotion. In fact, under conditions giving rise to substantial aggregation, the fraction of cells exhibiting classical locomotion is essentially negligible. Instead, aggregation appears to involve intracellular contacts accomplished via a different form of cell motility: active cell membrane extensions followed by adhesive cell-cell interactions. An implication of these findings is that aggregation may be largely governed by relative strengths of cell-cell versus cell-substratum interactions. These observations could be helpful for improved design of cell transplantation devices and cell culture substrata. (c) 1996 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
This article was published in Biotechnol Bioeng
and referenced in Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques