Degradation of micropatterned surfaces by cell-dependent and -independent processes

Celeste M. Nelson, Srivatsan Raghavan, John L. Tan, Christopher S. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


This paper describes a study to determine the role of active cellular processes in the initial patterning and eventual degradation of different micropatterned substrates. We compared the effects of serum and cell type on the ability of cells to crawl onto the nonadhesive regions of a variety of patterned substrates. Cells initially patterned in the presence of serum onto substrates manufactured using agarose, pluronics, hexa(ethylene glycol), or polyacrylamide as the nonadhesive. While polyacrylamide remained inert and patterned cells for at least 28 days, agarose and pluronics degraded by gradual desorption of the nonadhesive from the surface independently of the presence of cells. Hexa(ethylene glycol) degraded by a time-dependent mechanism that could be accelerated by cell-dependent oxidative processes. In contrast to the other substrates studied, bovine serum albumin (BSA) patterned cells only under serum-free conditions. The serum did not displace BSA from the surface but instead activated cell-secreted proteases that led to degradation of the substrate. These findings illustrate the importance of specific cellular and noncellular processes in the failure of different nonadhesive chemistries commonly used to pattern cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1499
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 4 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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