Although we have come very far in understanding cells and their functions, many undiscovered characteristics still keep us in the dark. Creating experiments that mimic the cell’s in vivo environments as closely as possible is one of the many challenges researchers face when working with cells in their labs.
Micropatterning is a technique that addresses this challenge. It combines the traditional cell culture substrates with the physiological relevance of in vivo experiments, building in vitro microenvironments similar to those of the cells’ in vivo situations. The technique allows researchers to control cellular patterns and increases the relevance and repeatability of the data generated, while decreasing the requirement for experiments on animals.
The creation of microenvironments can be used to form an understanding of the natural relationship between tissue structures and functions, and can give clues on how this relationship can become unbalanced in case of disease.