Controlled Dynamics of Neural Tumor Cells by Templated Liquid Crystalline Polymer Networks


The ability to control the alignment and organization of cell populations has great potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. A variety of approaches such as nano/microtopographical patterning, mechanical loading, and nanocomposite synthesis have been developed to engineer scaffolds able to control cellular properties and behaviors. In this work, a patterned liquid crystal polymer network (LCN) film is synthesized by using a nematic liquid crystal template in which the molecular orientations are predesigned by photopatterning technique. Various configurations of polymer networks such as linear and circular patterns are created. When neural tumor cells are plated onto the templated LCN films, the cell alignment, migration, and proliferation are directed in both linear and curvilinear fashions following the pattern of the aligned polymer chains. A complex LCN pattern with zigzag geometry is also fabricated and found to be capable of controlling cell alignment and collective cellular organization. The demonstrated control of cell dynamics and organization by LCN films with various molecular alignments opens new opportunities to design scaffolds to control cultured cell organization in a manner resembling that found in tissues and to develop novel advanced materials for nerve repair, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine applications.

Publication Title

Advanced Healthcare Materials