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Thermoresponsive Microgel Coatings as Versatile Functional Compounds for Novel Cell Manipulation Tools

Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses (IZI-BB), Fraunhofer-Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
GeSiM mbH, 01454 Großerkmannsdorf, Germany
Department of Physical and Biophysical Chemistry (PC III), Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Executive Office, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), 10589 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Physical Chemistry and Polymer Physics, Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Chair of Physical Chemistry of Polymeric Materials, Technical University Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2018, 10(6), 656;
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microgels and Hydrogels at Interfaces)
PDF [9237 KB, uploaded 13 June 2018]


For the effective use of live cells in biomedicine as in vitro test systems or in biotechnology, non-invasive cell processing and characterisation are key elements. Thermoresponsive polymer coatings have been demonstrated to be highly beneficial for controlling the interaction of adherent cells through their cultivation support. However, the widespread application of these coatings is hampered by limitations in their adaptability to different cell types and because the full range of applications has not yet been fully explored. In the work presented here, we address these issues by focusing on three different aspects. With regard to the first aspect, by using well-defined laminar flow in a microchannel, a highly controllable and reproducible shear force can be applied to adherent cells. Employing this tool, we demonstrate that cells can be non-invasively detached from a support using a defined shear flow. The second aspect relates to the recent development of simple methods for patterning thermoresponsive coatings. Here, we show how such patterned coatings can be used for improving the handling and reliability of a wound-healing assay. Two pattern geometries are tested using mouse fibroblasts and CHO cells. In terms of the third aspect, the adhesiveness of cells depends on the cell type. Standard thermoresponsive coatings are not functional for all types of cells. By coadsorbing charged nanoparticles and thermoresponsive microgels, it is demonstrated that the adhesion and detachment behaviour of cells on such coatings can be modulated. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-invasive cell detachment; cell cultivation; cell-based assay; stimuli-responsive polymers non-invasive cell detachment; cell cultivation; cell-based assay; stimuli-responsive polymers

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Uhlig, K.; Wegener, T.; Hertle, Y.; Bookhold, J.; Jaeger, M.; Hellweg, T.; Fery, A.; Duschl, C. Thermoresponsive Microgel Coatings as Versatile Functional Compounds for Novel Cell Manipulation Tools. Polymers 2018, 10, 656.

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