Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bio scaffolds categorized by characteristic cell shapes

Date:
February 7, 2014
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Getting in the right shape might be just as important in a biology lab as a gym. Shape is thought to play an important role in the effectiveness of cells grown to repair or replaced damaged tissue in the body. To help design new structures that enable cells to "shape up," researchers have come up with a way to measure, and more importantly, classify, the shapes cells tend to take in different environments.

(Top) The same basic cell type grown on two different bio scaffolds (collagen gel and a grid-like scaffold made of a biocompatible polymer) adopts significantly different shapes. The superimposed ellipsoids are calculated from the dimensions of each cell. (Bottom) Plotting the characteristic ellipsoids for each cell by how round they are in the two major cross sections reveals that cells tend to different shapes on different scaffolds -- spheres at one extreme, long narrow rods at another.
Credit: Farooque,Camp,Simon/NIST

Getting in the right shape might be just as important in a biology lab as a gym. Shape is thought to play an important role in the effectiveness of cells grown to repair or replace damaged tissue in the body. To help design new structures that enable cells to "shape up," researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have come up with a way to measure, and more importantly, classify, the shapes cells tend to take in different environments.

With the notable exception of Flat Stanley, we all live, and are shaped by, a 3-dimensional world. Biologists have accepted that this dimensional outlook is just as important to growing cells. A key challenge in tissue engineering -- the engineering of living cells to grow into replacement or repair tissues such as bone, heart muscle, blood vessels or cartilage -- is creating 3-D scaffolds to support the cells as they grow and provide an appropriate environment so that they develop into viable tissue.

This, says NIST materials scientist Carl Simon, has led to a large and rapidly expanding collection of possible 3D scaffolds, ranging from relatively simple gels made of collagen, the body's natural structural matrix, to structured or unstructured arrangements of polymer fibers, hydrogels and many more.

"What we're trying to measure," Simon explains, "is 'what is 3D in this context?' Presumably, a scaffold provides some sort of microenvironment -- a niche that allows a cell to adopt the normal 3D morphology that it would have in the body. But you can't measure the niche because that's sort of an amorphous, ill-defined concept. So, we decided to measure cell shape and see how that changes, if it becomes more 3D in the scaffold."

The NIST team made painstaking measurements of individual cells in a variety of typical scaffolds using a confocal microscope, an instrument that can make highly detailed, 3-dimensional images of a target, albeit with very lengthy exposure times. They then used a mathematical technique -- "gyration tensors" -- to reduce each cell's shape to a characteristic ellipsoid. Ellipsoids can range in shape from points or spheres to flat ellipses or elongated sticks to something like an American football.

Analyzing the ellipsoid collection allowed them to categorize average cell shapes by scaffold. Cells in collagen gels and some fiber scaffolds, for example, tend toward a 1-dimensional rod shape. Other scaffolds promoted 2-dimensional disks, while a synthetic gel using a material called PEGTM seems to encourage spheres.

"This technique," says Simon, "gives you a way to compare these different scaffolds. There are hundreds of scaffolds being advanced. It's hard to know how they differ with respect to cell morphology. By looking at the cell shape in 3D with this approach, you can compare them. You can say this one makes the cells more 3-dimensional, or this one makes the cells more like they would develop in collagen, depending on what you want. "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tanya M. Farooque, Charles H. Camp, Christopher K. Tison, Girish Kumar, Sapun H. Parekh, Carl G. Simon. Measuring stem cell dimensionality in tissue scaffolds. Biomaterials, 2014; 35 (9): 2558 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.12.092

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Bio scaffolds categorized by characteristic cell shapes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207133007.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2014, February 7). Bio scaffolds categorized by characteristic cell shapes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207133007.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Bio scaffolds categorized by characteristic cell shapes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207133007.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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