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Chitin-Based Anisotropic Nanostructures of Butterfly Wings for Regulating Cells Orientation

1,2,†, 1,2,†, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2 and 1,2,3,*
State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
National Demonstration Center for Experimental Biomedical Engineering Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
Laboratory of Environment and Biosafety Research Institute of Southeast University in Suzhou, Suzhou 215123, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this study.
Polymers 2017, 9(9), 386;
Received: 23 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Polysaccharides)
PDF [10646 KB, uploaded 23 August 2017]


In recent years, multiple types of substrates have been applied for regulating cell orientation. Among them, surface topography patterns with grooves or ridges have been widely utilizing for cell culturing. However, this construction is still complicated, low cost-effective and exhibits some technological limitations with either “top-down” or “bottom-up” approaches. Here, a simple and green method was developed by utilizing butterfly wings (Morpho menelaus, Papilio ulysses telegonus and Ornithoptera croesus lydius) with natural anisotropic nanostructures to generate cell alignment. A two-step chemical treatment was proposed to achieve more hydrophilic butterfly wings preceding cell culturing. Furthermore, calcein acetoxymethyl ester (Calcein-AM) staining and Methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay results demonstrated the appropriate viability of NIH-3T3 fibroblast cells on those butterfly wings. Moreover, the cells displayed a high degree of alignment in each specimen of these wings. We anticipate that those originating from natural butterfly wings will pose important applications for tissue engineering. View Full-Text
Keywords: butterfly wings; anisotropic nanostructure; chemical treatment; cell alignment butterfly wings; anisotropic nanostructure; chemical treatment; cell alignment

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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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Elbaz, A.; Lu, J.; Gao, B.; Zheng, F.; Mu, Z.; Zhao, Y.; Gu, Z. Chitin-Based Anisotropic Nanostructures of Butterfly Wings for Regulating Cells Orientation. Polymers 2017, 9, 386.

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