Surface topography plays a crucial role in influencing cellular responses and has therefore been utilized in the development of numerous implantable devices. Whilst numerous studies have either investigated cell attachment or migration post-attachment, few have looked at the early-stages of this process temporally. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of time-lapse microscopy to study the behaviour of fibroblasts cultured with polycaprolactone microfibres and to assess spatially and temporally the cell–structure interaction over a 24 h period. Ordered polymeric structures were printed (predetermined) onto glass substrates using an electrohydrodynamic direct write process to produce fine (3–5 μm wide) structures. Fibroblast attachment and migration were characterized as a function of distance perpendicular from structures (∼17.3, 34.6 and 51.9 μm). The use of time-lapse microscopy revealed a gradual decrease in cell attachment as the distance from the microfibres was increased. The technique also revealed that some cells were attaching and detaching from the microfibre multiple times. Our findings demonstrate that time-lapse microscopy is a useful technique for evaluating early-stage cell–biomaterial interaction that is capable of recording important events that might otherwise be overlooked.
- Direct writing
- Time-lapse microscopy