Epithelial cells migrate autonomously by aligning and inducing a collective motion. Controlling the collective motion of epithelial cells in geometrically confined environments is important for understanding physiological processes such as wound healing and self-organized morphogenesis. However, collective migration under a three-dimensional (3D) curved surface resembling living epithelial tissue has not yet been explored. In this study, we investigated the collective motion of a 3D-buckled polyacrylamide (PAAm) gel that mimics the shape of folds and wrinkles of epithelial tissue to understand the geometric effects of collective motion. We found that the velocity correlation in the space near the hydrogel boundary showed a periodic change that correlated with the wrinkled folding of the hydrogel pattern. Furthermore, the characteristic length of the velocity correlation increased proportionally with the wavelength of wrinkled folding. These observations indicated that the hydrogel pattern could steer the collective motion of epithelial cells over long distances. Our study also suggests that the wrinkled design of the hydrogel is a versatile platform for studying the geometric effect of a curved surface on complex epithelial cell dynamics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)