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Modeling Cell Spreading and Alignment on Micro-Wavy Surfaces

E. P. Yalcintas1, J. Hu1, Y. Liu1,2, A. Voloshin1,2,3

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Lehigh University, 19 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.
Bioengineering Program, Lehigh University, 111 Research Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.
Correspondence should be addressed toArkady Voloshin (, 19 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2014, 98(2), 151-180.


Mechanical behavior of cells plays a crucial role in response to external stimuli and environment. It is very important to elucidate the mechanisms of cellular activities like spreading and alignment as it would shed light on further biological concepts. In this study, a multi-scale computational approach is adopted by modeling the cytoskeleton of cell as a tensegrity structure. The model is based on the complementary force balance between the tension and compression elements, resembling the internal structure of cell cytoskeleton composed of microtubules and actin filaments. The effect of surface topology on strain energy of a spread cell is investigated by defining strain energy of the structure as the main criterion in the simulation process of the cell spreading. Spreading as a way to decrease internal energy toward a minimum energy state is the main hypothesis that is investigated. The cell model is placed at different positions along the wavy surface and the spreading and alignment behavior is observed. The implementation of the model illustrates the effect of topological factors on spreading and alignment of the cell. Experiments were conducted by seeding Bovine Aortic Endothelial Cells (BAECs) on poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) wavy surface to serve as a verification for the proposed model in the context of cellular behavior. Experimental observations are in general agreement with the computational results, which points out that the model can be explanatory in terms of understanding mechanical characteristics of cells.


Cite This Article

Yalcintas, E. P., Hu, J., Liu, Y., Voloshin, A. (2014). Modeling Cell Spreading and Alignment on Micro-Wavy Surfaces. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 98(2), 151–180.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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