The engineered three-dimensional (3D) cell cultivation system for the production of multicellular spheroids has attracted considerable attention due to its improved in vivo relevance to cellular communications compared with the traditional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture platform. The formation and maintenance of cell spheroids in a healthy condition is the critical factor for tissue engineering applications such as the repair of damaged tissues, the development of organ replacement parts and preclinical drug tests. However, culturing spheroids in conventional isolated single wells shows limited yield and reduced maintenance periods due to the lack of proper supplies of nutrition as well as intercellular chemical signaling. Here, we develop novel networked concave microwell arrays for the effective construction of 3D multi-cellular spheroids. The proposed method provides a suitable structure for the diffusion of oxygen, water-soluble nutrients and cytokines for cell-cell interactions between the spheroids in neighboring microwells. We have further demonstrated that hepatocyte spheroid cultured networked concave microwells show enhanced cell viability and albumin secretion compared to the un-networked control group over two weeks. Our results reveal that multi-cellular functionality can be tuned up by networking individual 3D spheroids without supplying additional chemicals or biological supplements. We anticipate our result to be useful in high-throughput cellular screening platforms to study cell-cell interactions, in response to diverse chemical stimuli as well as the development of the in vivo mimicking of the customized 3D tissue culture system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program (R1435293) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (R1610511).
This work was supported by the KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program (R1435293) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (R1610511). This paper is dedicated to the late Professor Sang-Hoon Lee for his lifelong contribution to biomedical engineering.
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.
- 3D cell culture
- 3D cell spheroid
- concave microwell
- hepatocyte spheroid
- networked microwell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering