Although two-photon polymerization (2PP-DLW) – a computer-assisted laser-based fabrication technique – is not an easily upscalable fabrication method such as electrospinning, it enables the repeatable production of platforms with fine details for in vitro applications. It is a powerfull tool to produce cell culture platforms with highly ordered geometries that recapitulate the structure and size scale of natural 3D cell environments.
These easily tunable platforms can be used for studying the effects of the layout and the design (shapes and dimensions) on cell behavior.
The aim of this present study was to polymerize different microtower designs including a design with intraluminal longitudinal micropillars that mimic the axonal tracts in vivo.
In particular, the team investigated the ability of the towers to support the adhesion, growth, and orientation of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neuronal cells.
The researchers fabricated six different microtower designs. They demonsytrated that these cell culture platforms are efficient for the long-term 3D culturing of human stem cell-derived neuronal cells.
"Our proposed culturing concept may be used as a substitute for the hydrogel matrix commonly used to mechanically support the 3D growth of cells," the authors conclude their report. "The platform is especially suitable for studying cell behavior in a 3D environment, for example, the orientation and migration of neuronal cells, both of which are important aspects to consider in future studies."