Patterned co-culture of primary hepatocytes and fibroblasts using polyelectrolyte multilayer templates

Srivatsan Kidambi, Lufang Sheng, Martin L. Yarmush, Mehmet Toner, Ilsoon Lee, Christina Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


This paper describes the formation of patterned cell co-cultures using the layer-by-layer deposition of synthetic ionic polymers and without the aid of adhesive proteins/ligands such as collagen or fibronectin. In this study, we used synthetic polymers, namely poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDAC) and sulfonated polystyrene (SPS) as the polycation and polyanion, respectively, to build the multilayer films. We formed SPS patterns on polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) surfaces either by microcontact printing PDAC onto SPS surfaces or vice-versa. To create patterned co-cultures on PEMs, we capitalize on the preferential attachment and spreading of primary hepatocytes on SPS as opposed to PDAC surfaces. In contrast, fibroblasts readily attached to both PDAC and SPS surfaces, and as a result, we were able to obtain patterned co-cultures of fibroblast and primary hepatocytes on synthetic PEM surfaces. We characterized the morphology and hepatic-specific functions of the patterned cell co-cultures with microscopy and biochemical assays. Our results suggest an alternative approach to fabricating controlled co-cultures with specified cell-cell and cell-surface interactions; this approach provides flexibility in designing cell-specific surfaces for tissue engineering applications. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion
  • Co-culture
  • Micro-contact printing
  • Polyelectrolyte
  • Polyelectrolyte multilayers
  • Primary hepatocytes
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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