AccScience Publishing / IJB / Volume 9 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.18063/ijb.681

Printing channels with millimeter-scale curvature and deciphering their effect on the proliferation, morphology, orientation, and migration of M-22 cells

Huinan Lai1† Yuye Huang2† Jun Yin3* Jin Qian1*
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1 Department of Engineering Mechanics, Key Laboratory of Soft Machines and Smart Devices of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China
2 Center for Medical and Engineering Innovation, Central Laboratory, Ningbo First Hospital, Ningbo 315010, China
3 The State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power Transmission and Control Systems, Key Laboratory of 3D Printing Process and Equipment of Zhejiang Province, School of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China
Submitted: 10 August 2022 | Accepted: 8 November 2022 | Published: 9 February 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing of Advanced Biomedical Devices)
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Complex curved structures of tissues have been recognized to influence the behavior and function of cells. Tissue curvatures sensed by cells are approximately on the millimeter scale. However, previous research mainly focused on the effect of micro- and nano-scale spatial curved structures, underestimating the significance of milli-scale curvature. Here, we employed fused deposition modeling (FDM) with two-stage temperature control, superfine cone-shaped needle, stable air pressure, and precise motion platform for the customized production of homogeneous, precise, and curved fibers; the responses of M-22 cells to FDM-printed curved channels with radii of 1.5 to 3 mm were systematically investigated. The cells aligned with these curved channels and exhibited various aspect ratios in the channels with different curvatures. Cell proliferation, migration speed of single cells, and front-end speed of collective cells were tightly regulated by these curved structures. Also, a computational model based on force equilibrium was proposed to explore the essential factors and mechanisms of curvature affecting cell behavior. Our simulation results demonstrated that the curvature and width of channels, along with the relative size of cells, can significantly impact the cell–boundary interaction force and the number of valid pseudopodia generated by cells in the process of cell migration. These results provide a comprehensive understanding of the effect of milli-scale curvature on the cells and underpin the design of scaffolds that can be produced easily with sophisticated micro- and nano-scale curved features to regulate cell behavior in tissue engineering.

Fused deposition modeling
Curvature effect
Curved channel
Cell behavior

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