Microfluidic Assay To Study the Combinatorial Impact of Substrate Properties on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration

Nishanth V. Menon, Yon Jin Chuah, Samantha Phey, Ying Zhang, Yingnan Wu, Vincent Chan, Yuejun Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


As an alternative to complex and costly in vivo models, microfluidic in vitro models are being widely used to study various physiological phenomena. It is of particular interest to study cell migration in a controlled microenvironment because of its vital role in a large number of physiological processes, such as wound healing, disease progression, and tissue regeneration. Cell migration has been shown to be affected by variations in the biochemical and physical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM). To study the combinatorial impact of the ECM physical properties on cell migration, we have developed a microfluidic assay to induce migration of human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates with varying combinatorial properties (hydrophobicity, stiffness, and roughness). The results show that although the initial cell adhesion and viability appear similar on all PDMS samples, the cell spreading and migration are enhanced on PDMS samples exhibiting intermediate levels of hydrophobicity, stiffness, and roughness. This study suggests that there is a particular range of substrate properties for optimal cell spreading and migration. The influence of substrate properties on hBMSC migration can help understand the physical cues that affect cell migration, which may facilitate the development of optimized engineered scaffolds with desired properties for tissue regeneration applications.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)17095-17103
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number31
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2015


  • cell migration and spreading
  • extracellular matrix
  • human-bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells
  • roughness
  • stiffness
  • substratum properties
  • wettability


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