Patterned cell arrays and patterned co-cultures on polydopamine-modified poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Live cell arrays are an emerging tool that expand traditional 2D in vitro cell culture, increasing experimental precision and throughput. A patterned cell system was developed by combining the cell-repellent properties of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels with the cell adhesive properties of self-assembled films of dopamine (polydopamine). It was shown that polydopamine could be patterned onto spin-cast polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels by microcontact printing, which in turn effectively patterned the growth of several cell types (HeLa, human embryonic kidney, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and prostate cancer). The cells could be patterned in geometries down to single-cell confinement, and it was demonstrated that cell patterns could be maintained for at least 3 weeks. Furthermore, polydopamine could be used to modify poly(vinyl alcohol) in situ using a cell-compatible deposition buffer (1 mg mL−1 dopamine in 25 mM tris with a physiological salt balance). The treatment switched the PVA hydrogel from cell repellent to cell adhesive. Finally, by combining microcontact printing and in situ deposition of polydopamine, patterned co-cultures of the same cell type (HeLa/HeLa) and dissimilar cell types (HeLa/HUVEC) were realized through simple chemistry and could be studied over time. The combination of polyvinyl alcohol and polydopamine was shown to be an attractive route to versatile, patterned cell culture experiments with minimal infrastructure requirements and low complexity.