Frontiers of Materials Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

A novel honeycomb cell assay kit designed for evaluating horizontal cell migration in response to functionalized self-assembling peptide hydrogels

  • Fengyi Guan
  • Jiaju Lu
  • Xiumei Wang
Research Article


A clear understanding on cell migration behaviors contributes to designing novel biomaterials in tissue engineering and elucidating related tissue regeneration processes. Many traditional evaluation methods on cell migration including scratch assay and transwell migration assay possess all kinds of limitations. In this study, a novel honeycomb cell assay kit was designed and made of photosensitive resin by 3D printing. This kit has seven hexagonal culture chambers so that it can evaluate the horizontal cell migration behavior in response to six surrounding environments simultaneously, eliminating the effect of gravity on cells. Here this cell assay kit was successfully applied to evaluate endothelial cell migration cultured on self-assembling peptide (SAP) RADA (AcN-RADARADARADARADA-CONH2) nanofiber hydrogel toward different functionalized SAP hydrogels. Our results indicated that the functionalized RADA hydrogels with different concentration of bioactive motifs of KLT or PRG could induce cell migration in a dose-dependent manner. The total number and migration distance of endothelial cells on functionalized SAP hydrogels significantly increased with increasing concentration of bioactive motif PRG or KLT. Therefore, the honeycomb cell assay kit provides a simple, efficient and convenient tool to investigate cell migration behavior in response to multi-environments simultaneously.


honeycomb cell assay kit cell migration self-assembling peptide hydrogels endothelial cells 


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This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51572144 and 21371106) and the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (Grant No. 20161080091).


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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