Authors Joly, P. ; Duda, G. N. ; Schöne, M. ; Welzel, P. ; Freudenberg, U. ; Werner, C. ; Petersen, A.
Title Geometry-driven cell organization determines tissue growths in scaffold pores: Consequences for fibronectin organization
Date 17.09.2013
Abstract To heal tissue defects, cells have to bridge gaps and generate new extracellular matrix (ECM). Macroporous scaffolds are frequently used to support the process of defect filling and thus foster tissue regeneration. Such biomaterials contain micro-voids (pores) that the cells fill with their own ECM over time. There is only limited knowledge on how pore geometry influences cell organization and matrix production, even though it is highly relevant for scaffold design. This study hypothesized that 1) a simple geometric description predicts cellular organization during pore filling at the cell level and that 2) pore closure results in a reorganization of ECM. Scaffolds with a broad distribution of pore sizes (macroporous starPEG-heparin cryogel) were used as a model system and seeded with primary fibroblasts. The strategies of cells to fill pores could be explained by a simple geometrical model considering cells as tensioned chords. The model matched qualitatively as well as quantitatively by means of cell number vs. open cross-sectional area for all pore sizes. The correlation between ECM location and cell position was higher when the pores were not filled with tissue (Pearson’s coefficient · = 0.45±0.01) and reduced once the pores were closed (· = 0.26±0.04) indicating a reorganization of the cell/ECM network. Scaffold pore size directed the time required for pore closure and furthermore impacted the organization of the fibronectin matrix. Understanding how cells fill micro-voids will help to design biomaterial scaffolds that support the endogenous healing process and thus allow a fast filling of tissue defects.
Journal PLoS ONE 8 (2013) e73545

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