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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 11, 2013

Soft lithography detects partial mechano-sensoric blindness to micrometre topography in cultured aged and diseased cells

Dieter Kaufmann, Yi Su, Sarah Biela, Simon Jungbauer, Joachim P. Spatz and Ralf Kemkemer


Cells sense their physical environment and translate mechanical forces or geometries into biochemical signals enabling them to adapt to cues in their surroundings. In this in-vitro study, cell responses to surface topography were investigated in human fibroblasts from differently old donors and in fibroblasts from patients with a common tumour-associated genetic disorder, Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). As a response indicator we systematically examined the mean cell orientation along micro-structured grooves with heights of 100 and 200 nm. Fibroblasts from aged donors (> 30 years) and NF1 patients were significantly less affected by the topography than those from young and healthy donors (< 30 years). The results suggest that mechano-transduction can be altered by ageing and genetic disease resulting in a partial mechano-sensoric cellular blindness.

* Correspondence address Dr. R. Kemkemer Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (formerly Max Planck Institute for Metals Research) Heisenbergstr. 3, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany Tel.: +49 711 689 3516 E-mail:


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Received: 2011-2-2
Accepted: 2011-4-15
Published Online: 2013-06-11
Published in Print: 2011-07-01

© 2011, Carl Hanser Verlag, München