Dynamic Tracking of Osteoblastic Cell Traction Force during Guided Migration

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

6 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Journal / PublicationCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number1
Online published5 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


Introduction—Continuous development of cell traction force can regulate cell migration on various extracellular matrixes in vivo. However, the topographical effect on traction force is still not fully understood. Methods—Micropost sensors with parallel guiding gratings were fabricated in polydimethylsiloxane to track the cell traction force during topographical guidance in real time. The force distributions along MC3T3-E1 mouse osteoblasts were captured every minute. The traction force in the leading, middle, and trailing regions was monitored during forward and reversed cell migration. Results—The traction force showed periodic changes during cell migration when the cell changed from elongated to contracted shape. For cell migration without guiding pattern, the leading region showed the largest traction force among the three regions, typically 5.8 ± 0.8 nanonewton (nN) when the cell contracted and 7.1 ± 0.5 nN when it elongated. During guided cell migration, a lower traction force was obtained. When a cell contracted, the trailing traction force was 4.1 ± 0.4 for non-guided migration and 2.2 ± 0.2 nN for guided migration. As a cell became elongated, the trailing traction force was 6.0 ± 0.5 nN during non-guided migration and 4.8 ± 0.3 nN under guidance. When a cell reversed its migration direction, the magnitudes of the traction force from the leading to the trailing regions also flipped. Conclusion—The cell traction force is continuously influenced by topographical guidance, which determines cell migration speed and direction. These results of cell traction force development on various topographies could lead to better cell migration control using topotaxis.

Research Area(s)

  • Cell speed, Cell traction force, Forward and reversed, Real-time tracking, Topographical guidance