Biodegradable microgrooved polymeric surfaces obtained by photolithography for skeletal muscle cell orientation and myotube development

L. Altomare, N. Gadegaard, L. Visai, M. C. Tanzi, S. Farè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During tissue formation, skeletal muscle precursor cells fuse together to form multinucleated myotubes. To understand this mechanism, in vitro systems promoting cell alignment need to be developed; for this purpose, micrometer-scale features obtained on substrate surfaces by photolithography can be used to control and affect cell behaviour. This work was aimed at investigating how differently microgrooved polymeric surfaces can affect myoblast alignment, fusion and myotube formation in vitro. Microgrooved polymeric films were obtained by solvent casting of a biodegradable poly-L-lactide/trimethylene carbonate copolymer (PLLA-TMC) onto microgrooved silicon wafers with different groove widths (5,10, 25, 50, 100 μm) and depths (0.5, 1, 2.5, 5 μm), obtained by a standard photolithographic technique. The surface topography of wafers and films was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. Cell assays were performed using C2C12 cells and myotube formation was analysed by immunofluorescence assays. Cell alignment and circularity were also evaluated using ImageJ software. The obtained results confirm the ability of microgrooved surfaces to influence myotube formation and alignment; in addition, they represent a novel further improvement to the comprehension of best features to be used. The most encouraging results were observed in the case of microstructured PLLA-TMC films with grooves of 2.5 and 1 μm depth, presenting, in particular, a groove width of 50 and 25 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1957
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Contact guidance
  • Microfabrication
  • Myoblast alignment
  • Myotube formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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