Microgel film dynamics modulate cell adhesion behavior
A material's mechanical properties greatly control cell behavior at the cell–substrate interface. In this work, we demonstrate that microgel multilayers have unique elastic and viscoelastic-like properties that can be modulated to produce morphological changes in fibroblasts cultured on the film. Protein adsorption is also examined and the data are contrasted with the number of cells adhered. The dynamic interaction of cell and substrate is only partially explained by conventional understanding of surface–receptor interactions and substrate elasticity. Viscoelasticity, a mechanical property not often considered, plays a significant role at cellular length and time scales for microgel films.