Dimensionality in cell/material interactions

While most of the in vitro cultures are carried out on bidimensional (2D) substrates, most of the in vivo extracellular matrices are three-dimesional (3D). Consequently cells behave differently on 2D substrates as a way to self-adaptation to a non-physiological environment. This fact has encouraged the development of more relevant culture conditions seeking to provide more representative models for biomedicine (e.g., cancer, drug discovery and tissue engineering) and further insights into any dimension-dependent biological mechanism. Different 3D culture systems have been established though their variability and complexity hinder their standardisation in common cell culture procedures. We address the dimensionality issue in cell/material interactions and introduce sandwich-like microenvironments as a versatile tool to study cell behaviour. Cells cultured within this system use both dorsal and ventral receptors to adhere and spread, undergoing important changes with respect to the 2D cultures and approaching 3D conditions.