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Filopodial Morphology Correlates to the Capture Efficiency of Primary T-Cells on Nanohole Arrays

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Nanostructured surfaces emerge as a new class of material for capture and separation of cell populations including primary immune cells and disseminating rare tumor cells, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Although it has been speculated that nanoscale topological structures on cell surface are involved in the cell capture process, there are no studies that systematically analyze the relation between cell surface structures and the capture efficiency. Here we report on the first mechanistic study by quantifying the morphological parameters of cell surface nanoprotrusions, including filopodia, lamellipodia, and microvilli in the early stage of cell capture (< 20 min) in correlation to the efficiency of separating primary T lymphocytes. This was conducted by using a set of nanohole arrays (NHAs) with varying hole and pitch sizes. Our results showed that the formation of filopodia (e.g., width of filopodia and the average number of the filopodial filaments per cell) depends on the feature size of the nanostructures and the cell separation efficiency is strongly correlated to the number of filopodial fibers, suggesting a possible role of early stage mechanosensing and cell spreading in determining the efficiency of cell capture. In contrast, the length of filopodial filaments was less significantly correlated to the cell capture efficiency and the nanostructure dimensions of the NHAs. This is the first mechanistic study on nanostructure-based immune cell capture and provides new insights to not only the biology of cell-nanomaterial interaction but also the design of new rare cell capture technologies with improved efficiency and specificity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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