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The interaction of healthy and cancerous cells with nano- and microtopography

  • Davidson, Patricia
Publication Date
Jun 28, 2011
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This thesis deals with the differential response of healthy and cancerous cells to surface topography at the nanoscale and the microscale. Using a statistical method we developed we studied the interactions of cells with grooves of nanoscale depth. We demonstrate that healthy cells have a greater ability to align with deeper grooves, whereas cancerous cells are more sensitive to shallow grooves. Analysis reveals that the nucleus follows the alignment of the cell body more closely in cancerous cells, and that the nucleus of cancerous cells is more sensitive to shallow grooves.On microscale pillars we demonstrate for the first time that osteosarcoma cells deform to adopt the surface topography and that the deformation extends to the interior of the cell and in particular to the nucleus. We show that healthy cells only deform during the initial stages of adhesion and that immortalized cells show intermediate deformation between the healthy and cancerous cells. When the spacing between the pillars is reduced, differences in the deformation of different cancerous cell lines are detected. Deformation was also found to be related to the malignancy in keratinocytes, and related to the expression of Cdx2 in adenocarcinoma. The mechanism of deformation is tentatively attributed to the cytoskeleton and attempts to identify the main actors of deformation were performed using confocal microscopy and cytoskeleton inhibitors. Live cell imaging experiments reveal that the deformed cells are very mobile on the surfaces, loss of deformation is necessary for mitosis to occur and deformation after mitosis is more rapid than initial deformation upon adhesion to surfaces.

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