Cell-Populated Collagen Lattice Models
Investigation of cell function is often hampered by the complexity of the tissue context. This problem is circumvented by isolating cells from tissues and analyzing their behavior in culture. Most cell types are cultured as monolayers on planar, rigid Petri dishes, an environment that does not reflect the spatial, three-dimensional cellular environment in vivo. Culture in three-dimensional collagen lattices has been devised to optimize in vitro culture conditions and to provide a more physiologic “in vivo-like” environment. Collagen lattices can easily be manipulated to suit diverse cell types and to provide variable mechanical forces. Cells can be imaged in such surroundings, and gene expression as well as protein production and activity can be monitored.
Key wordsFibroblast Three-dimensional culture Collagen-binding integrin MMP Morphology Mechanical force
We thank all the members of the dermatology department in Cologne for their continued stimulating discussion; in particular we are grateful to Cornelia Mauch and Thomas Krieg for their constructive criticism and support. Work in the Eckes and Zigrino labs is supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) through SFB 829.
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