Understanding the Role of Scaffolds in Cell Culture

| Updated on March 27, 2024

When it comes to tissue engineering, scaffolds have a critical role to play. This is because they can be used to mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM). The scaffold properties have also been proven to impact cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation, and other types of cell behavior. Companies like Manchester Biogel have conducted extensive research into this area, and in this post, we will explain more about the role scaffolds play when it comes to cell culture.  

What is Cell Culture?

Before we can explain more about scaffolds and their role in cell culture, it is crucial to establish what cell culture is. Cell culture exists in developing cells in an artificial setting to concentrate on their performance because of the setting. Different types of cell cultures can be found today, and some would be more appropriate than others, depending on the applications and properties involved. 

Among them, 3D cell culture has been used on an increasing basis for its convenience and new features compared to the different cell culture methods. 3D cell culture could be depicted as the way of life of the living cells inside upholds and miniature collected gadgets, which present a three-dimensional design imitating organ and tissue-explicit microarchitecture.

What are Scaffolds When It Comes to Cells and Tissue Engineering?

Scaffolds are materials that have been created to cause desirable cellular interactions that will contribute to new functional tissues being formed for medical reasons. Cells will typically be “seeded” into these structures that can support three-dimensional tissue formation. 

When it comes to tissue engineering, growth-stimulating signals, scaffolds, and cells are typically known as the engineering trio, as they represent the three chief components of engineered tissues. Scaffolds, which are usually created with polymeric biomaterials, offer structural support for cell attachment and the consequent development of tissue. 

The scaffold-based 3D culture technique

As they are porous, scaffolds can facilitate waste, nutrients, and oxygen transportation. As a consequence, cells can migrate and proliferate within the scaffold web, eventually adhering to it. As they continue to grow, the maturing cells will interact with one and other, and, in the end, the structures will close to the tissues they came from initially. 

Scaffold Stiffness is Critical When Selecting the Most Suitable Scaffold for 2D Cell Culture 

Scientific research has shown us that scaffold stiffness can hurt cancer progression and drug resistance. Experts have discovered that stiff matrices can result in robust facial adhesins being induced, as well as Rho and MAP kinase activation, and integrin clustering, all of which can result in heightened proliferation and contractility. Not only this but scaffold stiffness has also been proven to be effective in regulating differentiation. With stiff matrices, mesenchymal stem cells prefer an osteogenic route, whereas soft matrices favor a neurogenic path. 

Final Words on the Role of Scaffolds in Cell Culture

So, there you have it: an insight into the role of scaffolds in cell culture. We hope that this has helped you better understand what scaffolds are and why they are critical in terms of cell culture and tissue engineering. The information provided above shows us why it is vital to ensure the stiffness of the scaffold is matched as closely as feasible to the type of tissue so that a more representative in vivo environment in vitro is created.

Akansha Singhal

EdTech Writer

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