Thin Films of Collagen Affect Smooth Muscle Cell Morphology
John T. Elliott, Alessandro Tona, John T. Woodward IV, P L. Jones, Anne L. Plant
The purpose of this study was to provide a reproducible method for applying collagen to surfaces on which cells can be grown, and to characterize the resulting thin films of collagen protein with respect to molecular structure and cellular response.Collagen is the most abundant extracellular matrix protein in the body, and it is an essential component of many tissue engineered devices. It can assume different molecular and supramolecular structures, depending on the conditions under which it is prepared for cell culture. Standardized protocols for collagen use in cell culture studies do not exist, and rarely are the final matrices characterized. Furthermore, the cellular response to different forms of collagen is poorly studied.This study showed that thin films of collagen can be reproducibly formed under conditions that produce either fibrillar or monomeric collagen, which mimic the healthy, and diseased artery, respectively. Using automated quantitative microscopic analysis we showed that the morphology and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells is determined by the intermolecular interactions of collagen in these thin films.These rugged and reproducible thin films will be essential reference surfaces on which smooth muscle and other cells can be examined for analysis of their intracellular signaling in response to their culture environment.
atomic force microscopy, automated microscopy, biomimetic, collagen, digital image analysis, extracellular matrix protein, fluorescence microscopy, smooth muscle cells, thin film