Adhesion of Epithelial Cells to PNIPAm Treated Surfaces for Temperature-Controlled Cell-Sheet Harvesting

Hyejeong Kim, Hannes Witt, Tabea A. Oswald, Marco Tarantola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Stimuli responsive polymer coatings are a common motive for designing surfaces for cell biological applications. In the present study, we have characterized temperature dependent adhesive properties of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) microgel coated surfaces (PMS) using various atomic force microscopy based approaches. We imaged and quantified the material properties of PMS upon a temperature switch using quantitative AFM imaging but also employed single-cell force spectroscopy (SCFS) before and after decreasing the temperature to assess the forces and work of initial adhesion between cells and PMS. We performed a detailed analysis of steps in the force-distance curves. Finally, we applied colloid probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM) to analyze the adhesive properties of two major components of the extracellular matrix to PMS under temperature control, namely collagen I and fibronectin. In combination with confocal imaging, we could show that these two ECM components differ in their detachment properties from PNIPAm microgel films upon cell harvesting, and thus gained a deeper understanding of cell-sheet maturation and harvesting process and the involved partial ECM dissolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33516-33529
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 29
Externally publishedYes


  • MDCK II epithelium
  • atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • cell-sheet harvesting
  • colloidal probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM)
  • poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm)
  • single-cell adhesion force spectroscopy (SCFS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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