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Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 596–606 | Cite as

How Deep Might Myoblasts Sense: The Effect of Substrate Stiffness and Thickness on the Behavior of Myoblasts

  • Shan Li
  • Feng Zhao
  • Yuewei Zhan
  • Xiaoyi Liu
  • Tingting Hun
  • Haokang Zhang
  • Changjun Qiu
  • Jingwen He
  • Zongchun Yi
  • Yan SunEmail author
  • Yubo FanEmail author
Original Article
  • 169 Downloads

Abstract

Mechanical characters of extracellular matrix, such as the stiffness and thickness, have been shown to impact an abundance of cellular processes, including cell spreading, adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we used polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films of variable thickness and stiffness to investigate the impact on skeletal muscles cell (C2C12 cells) behavior, in more detail. Furthermore, we utilized, for the first time, a heat sensitive material, poly-[N-isopropylacrylamide], in the process of film thickness measurement to obtain more complete films. Results confirmed that C2C12 cells grow better on stiff substrates. Also, our research demonstrated that film thickness has an influence on C2C12 cells attachment and growth. Specifically, when the elastic modulus of the substrate was 5 kPa, cells seeded on thin gels (h < 38 μm) were found to establish large, well-organized and well-spread focal adhesions. In addition, an increase in proliferation can be observed when the gels were 18 μm or thinner. The differentiation of C2C12 cells was also influenced by gel thickness. Myotubes formed on thick PDMS films (h > 38 μm) were generally differentiated by single myoblasts. When growing on thinner gels, myotubes appeared more elongated and multinuclear. Moreover, sarcomeres began to form when cells were seeded on substrates of 38 μm (or less). However, when the elastic modulus was 1.72 MPa, altering the thickness of the PDMS films had no significant impact on spreading, adhesion or proliferation. In short, we conclude that C2C12 cells are able to sense the underlay when growing on a stiff or a thin (h < 38 μm) substrate, which is reflected in their development.

Keywords

Polydimethylsiloxane Stiffness Thickness Skeletal muscles cell Proliferation Differentiation Adhesion Spreading 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [31470942, 11072021, 31670982], International Joint Research Center of Aerospace Biotechnology and 344 Medical Engineering from Ministry of Science and Technology of China, 111 Project 345 [B13003].

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Copyright information

© Taiwanese Society of Biomedical Engineering 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shan Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Feng Zhao
    • 1
  • Yuewei Zhan
    • 1
  • Xiaoyi Liu
    • 1
  • Tingting Hun
    • 1
  • Haokang Zhang
    • 1
  • Changjun Qiu
    • 1
  • Jingwen He
    • 1
  • Zongchun Yi
    • 1
  • Yan Sun
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yubo Fan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Biomechanics and Mechanobiology of Ministry of Education, School of Biological Science and Medical EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical AidsBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Transducer TechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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