Mesenchymal Stem Cells Aggregation on Silicon-Titanium Diboride Micropatterned Platforms



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Strategies for achieving aggregation in vitro are essential for improving a variety of biological mechanisms and the overall functionality of cells. However, current methods for obtaining cell aggregates allow limited control over aggregate size and formation. We investigated a novel microfabricated platform utilizing Titanium diboride (TiB2 ) circular micropatterns on Silicon (Si) wafers as a platform for cell culture. Our platform provides controlled characteristics such as defined geometries and stiffness gradients that are beneficial for tissue engineering. We evaluated MSC growth using culture media (M199, 20% Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS), 1% antibiotics), and media supplemented with growth factors (Endothelial cell growth supplement (ECGS) with 1% Heparin). Dynamics of cell growth were evaluated over two weeks using stereomicroscopy and immunofluorescence-based biomarker analysis. Our results show that MSCs grow in 2D monolayers when using culture media, but supplementation with growth-factors enables MSCs growth specific to TiB2 micro-patterns. Importantly, the geometry of circular patterns allow MSC aggregation into spheroids, while maintaining viability. Differences in surface properties such as charge, roughness and stiffness may promote growth factors to localize unto the micropatterns, thus validating this platform's use in tissue engineering applications which rely on such scaffold properties and 3D-microenvironments for improved therapeutic applications.