Single cell migration profiling on a microenvironmentally tunable hydrogel microstructure device that enables stem cell potency evaluation

Enrique Ros, Matías Encina, Fabián González, Rafael Contreras, Patricia Luz-Crawford, Maroun Khoury, Juan Pablo Acevedo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cell migration is a key function in a myriad of physiological events and disease conditions. Efficient, quick and descriptive profiling of migration behaviour in response to different treatments or conditions is highly desirable in a series of applications, ranging from fundamental studies of the migration mechanism to drug discovery and cell therapy. This investigation applied the use of methacrylamide gelatin (GelMA) to microfabricate migration lanes based on GelMA hydrogel with encapsulated migration stimuli and structural stability under culture medium conditions, providing the possibility of tailoring the microenvironment during cell-based assays. The actual device provides 3D topography, cell localization and a few step protocol, allowing the quick evaluation and quantification of individual migrated distances of a cell sample by an ImageJ plugin for automated microscopy processing. The detailed profiling of migration behaviour given by the new device has demonstrated a broader assay sensitivity compared to other migration assays and higher versatility to study cell migration in different settings of applications. In this study, parametric information extracted from the migration profiling was successfully used to develop predictive models of immunosuppressive cell function that could be applied as a potency test for mesenchymal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-972
Number of pages15
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number5
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to thank all the researchers in the Cells for Cells and Regenero for insightful discussions and suggestions. Additionally, the authors thank Diego Castro for assisting in and discussing migration data analysis. We acknowledge financial support from CORFO for the grant 13IDL2-18745 and the Ministry of Education of Chile for the PMI program grant UAN1301.

Publisher Copyright:
This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.


  • Cell culture
  • Function evaluation
  • Hydrogels
  • Stability
  • Topography


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