High-throughput reconstitution of epithelial–mesenchymal interaction in folliculoid microtissues by biomaterial-facilitated self-assembly of dissociated heterotypic adult cells
The aim of this study was to develop a method for efficient production of folliculoid keratinocyte-dermal papilla (DP) microtissues to facilitate epithelial–mesenchymal interaction. The behavior of DP cells and adult keratinocytes from hairless skin on poly(ethylene-co-vinyl alcohol) (EVAL) surface was investigated. Keratinocytes, poorly adherent both to substrate and between homotypic cells, become suspended disperse cells after homotypic cell seeding. Seeded simultaneously, keratinocytes and DP cells are able to aggregate into spheroidal microtissues. Dynamical analysis shows that DP cells act as a carrier in the process due to the heterotypic intercellular adhesion. DP cells attach faster to EVAL and start to aggregate. Keratinocytes adhere to DP cells and are then carried by DP cells to form initial hybrid aggregates. Due to the high motility of DP cells, these hybrid aggregates move collectively as clusters and merge into larger spheroids which subsequently detach from the substratum and can be easily collected. Compared with random cell distribution in spheroids generated in hanging drops, these hybrid spheroids have a preferential compartmented core-shell structure: an aggregated DP cell core surrounded by a keratinocyte shell. In addition to ameliorated DP signature gene expression, keratinocytes show down-regulated epidermal terminal differentiation and enhanced follicular differentiation. Functionally, these microtissues are able to grow hairs in vivo. This work sheds light on the complex effects and dynamics of cell–cell and cell-substratum interaction in the patterning of heterotypic cells into tissue forms and is of potential to be applied to mass generation of other epithelial organ primordia in vitro.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 15, May 2010, Pages 4341–4352