This study aimed at examining the biophysical characteristics of human derived keratinocytes (HaCaT) cultured on cholesteryl ester liquid crystals (CELC). CELC was previously shown to improve sensitivity in sensing cell contractions. Characteristics of the cell integrin expressions and presence of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins on the liquid crystals were interrogated using various immunocytochemical techniques. The investigation was followed by characterization of the chemical properties of the liquid crystals (LC) after immersion in cell culture media using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The surface morphology of cells adhered to the LC was studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Consistent with the expressions of the integrins α2, α3 and β1, extracellular matrix proteins (laminin, collagen type IV and fibronectin) were found secreted by the HaCaT onto CELC and these proteins were also secreted by cells cultured on the glass substrates. FTIR analysis of the LC revealed the existence of spectrum assigned to cholesterol and ester moieties that are essential compounds for the metabolizing activities of keratinocytes. The immunostainings indicated that cell adhesion on the LC is mediated by self-secreted ECM proteins. As revealed by the AFM imaging, the constraint in cell membrane spread on the LC leads to the increase in cell surface roughness and thickness of cell membrane. The biophysical expressions of cells on biocompatible CELC suggested that CELC could be a new class of biological relevant material.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.