Influence of the pattern size of micropatterned scaffolds on cell morphology, proliferation, migration and F-actin expression
To determine how the three-dimensional (3D) shape of scaffolds influences cell functions, 3D micropatterned scaffolds of various sizes were fabricated on a silicon substrate. The micropatterns were equilateral triangular pores with 3–20 μm long sides, and all had the same pore ratio (total pore area per unit area) and depth. The patterns only differed in terms of their 2D size. Such scaffolds have not been previously generated, and thus the effects of pattern size on cell functions have not been addressed. NIH-3T3 cells were cultured on these micropatterned scaffolds, and their morphology, proliferation rate, migration rate, and level of F-actin expression were assessed. Cells became more rounded and F-actin expression decreased as the pattern size of the scaffold decreased. Relationships were also demonstrated between pattern size and cell proliferation and migration. These results suggest that the pattern size of 3D micropatterned scaffolds affects the level of mechanical stress that cells experience, and thereby influences F-actin expression, cell morphology, cell proliferation and cell migration.