Protein-Substrate Adhesion in Microcontact Printing Regulates Cell Behavior

Shuhuan Hu, Ting Hsuan Chen, Yanhua Zhao, Zuankai Wang, Raymond H.W. Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Microcontact printing (μCP) is widely used to create patterns of biomolecules essential for studies of cell mechanics, migration, and tissue engineering. However, different types of μCPs may create micropatterns with varied protein-substrate adhesion, which may change cell behaviors and pose uncertainty in result interpretation. Here, we characterize two μCP methods for coating extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (stamp-off and covalent bond) and demonstrate for the first time the important role of protein-substrate adhesion in determining cell behavior. We found that, as compared to cells with weaker traction force (e.g., endothelial cells), cells with strong traction force (e.g., vascular smooth muscle cells) may delaminate the ECM patterns, which reduced cell viability as a result. Importantly, such ECM delamination was observed on patterns by stamp-off but not on the patterns by covalent bonds. Further comparisons of the displacement of the ECM patterns between the normal VSMCs and the force-reduced VSMCs suggested that the cell traction force plays an essential role in this ECM delamination. Together, our results indicated that μCPs with insufficient adhesion may lead to ECM delamination and cause cell death, providing new insight for micropatterning in cell-biomaterial interaction on biointerfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1750-1759
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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