Integrating polyurethane culture substrates into poly(dimethylsiloxane) microdevices
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Poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)-based microdevices have enabled rapid, high-throughput assessment of cellular response to precisely controlled microenvironmental stimuli, including chemical, matrix and mechanical factors. However, the use of PDMS as a culture substrate precludes long-term culture and may significantly impact cell response. Here we describe a method to integrate polyurethane (PU), a well-studied and clinically relevant biomaterial, into the PDMS multilayer microfabrication process, enabling the exploration of long-term cellular response on alternative substrates in microdevices. To demonstrate the utility of these hybrid microdevices for cell culture, we compared initial cell adhesion, cell spreading, and maintenance of protein patterns on PU and PDMS substrates. Initial cell adhesion and cell spreading after three days were comparable between collagen-coated PDMS and PU substrates (with or without collagen coating), but significantly lower on native PDMS substrates. However, for longer culture durations (> or = 6 days), cell spreading and protein adhesion on PU substrates was significantly better than that on PDMS substrates, and comparable to that on tissue culture-treated polystyrene. Thus, the use of a generic polyurethane substrate in microdevices enables longer-term cell culture than is possible with PDMS substrates. More generally, this technique can improve the impact and applicability of microdevice-based research by facilitating the use of alternate, relevant biomaterials while maintaining the advantages of using PDMS for microdevice fabrication.
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