A 3D Culture Model to Study How Fluid Pressure and Flow Affect the Behavior of Aggregates of Epithelial Cells.
Cells are surrounded by mechanical stimuli in their microenvironment. It is important to determine how cells respond to the mechanical information that surrounds them in order to understand both development and disease progression, as well as to be able to predict cell behavior in response to physical stimuli. Here we describe a protocol to determine the effects of interstitial fluid flow on the migratory behavior of an aggregate of epithelial cells in a three-dimensional (3D) culture model. This protocol includes detailed methods for the fabrication of a 3D cell culture chamber with hydrostatic pressure control, the culture of epithelial cells as an aggregate in a collagen gel, and the analysis of collective cell behavior in response to pressure-driven flow.