Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment

Date:
March 14, 2011
Source:
Syracuse University
Summary:
Researchers have used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment.

Researchers led by James Henderson (right) have used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment.
Credit: Image courtesy of Syracuse University

A team led by James Henderson, assistant professor of biomedical and chemical engineering in Syracuse University's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS) and researcher in the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, has used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment.

Related Articles


Most cell biomechanics research has examined cell behavior on unchanging, flat surfaces. "Living cells are remarkably complex, dynamic and versatile systems, but the material substrates currently used to culture them are not," says Henderson. "What motivated our work was the need for cell culture technologies that would allow dynamic control of cell-material interactions. We wanted to give a powerful new tool to biologists and bioengineers."

The goal of the current research was to develop a temperature-sensitive shape memory polymer substrate that could be programmed to change shape under cell-compatible conditions. Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a class of "smart" materials that can switch between two shapes on command, from a fixed (temporary) shape to a pre-determined permanent shape, via a trigger such as a temperature change.

The breakthrough needed to achieve the research goal was made by Kevin Davis, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Henderson lab. Davis was able to develop a SMP with a transition temperature that worked within the limited range required for cells to live. He observed greater than 95 percent cell viability before and after topography and temperature change. This is the first demonstration of this type of cell-compatible, programmable topography change. Davis' and Henderson's work collaboration with Kelly Burke of Case Western Reserve University and Patrick T. Mather, Milton and Ann Stevenson Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University, is highlighted in the January issue of the journal Biomaterials, the leading journal in biomaterials research.

After confirming that cells remained viable on the substrate, Davis then investigated the changes in cell alignment on the surface that results from topography change. Davis programmed a SMP substrate that transitioned from a micron-scale grooved surface to a smooth surface. When the cells were seeded on the grooved sample at 30ēC, the cells lined up along the grooves of the surface. The substrates were then placed in a 37ēC incubator, which was the transition temperature for the substrate to recover to a smooth surface. Following shape memory recovery, the cells were observed to be randomly oriented on the substrate.

This research project aimed to determine if cells could remain viable with a change in substrate topography and determine whether cells responded to the change. The next phase of this research is to move from a 2D substrate to a 3D substrate and examine cell viability. Additionally, Henderson's team will be looking at what is going on inside the cells as a result of topography changes.

The application of shape memory principles offers potential solutions for current limitations of static substrate research in bioengineering research, such as medical devices and tissue engineering scaffolds. "For the first time, we've shown that this general concept can be used successfully with cells, which suggests that it can be extended to a number of biomaterials that could be used for scaffolds and many other applications," says Davis. Since most scaffolding is made out of polymers, Henderson envisions one day using SMPs to create scaffolds that can expand inside the body, allowing for less invasive surgical procedures.

The LCS team of researchers led by Henderson included Davis, Mather, and Burke, a former Ph.D student in Mather's research group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Syracuse University. The original article was written by Ariel DuChene. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin A. Davis, Kelly A. Burke, Patrick T. Mather, James H. Henderson. Dynamic cell behavior on shape memory polymer substrates. Biomaterials, 2011; 32 (9): 2285 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.006

Cite This Page:

Syracuse University. "Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121021.htm>.
Syracuse University. (2011, March 14). Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121021.htm
Syracuse University. "Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310121021.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins