Propagating acoustic waves on a culture substrate regulate the directional collective cell migration

Chikahiro Imashiro, Byungjun Kang, Yunam Lee, Youn Hoo Hwang, Seonghun Im, Dae Eun Kim, Kenjiro Takemura, Hyungsuk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Collective cell migration plays a critical role in physiological and pathological processes such as development, wound healing, and metastasis. Numerous studies have demonstrated how various types of chemical, mechanical, and electrical cues dictate the collective migratory behaviors of cells. Although an acoustic cue can be advantageous because of its noninvasiveness and biocompatibility, cell migration in response to acoustic stimulation remains poorly understood. In this study, we developed a device that is able to apply surface acoustic waves to a cell culture substrate and investigated the effect of propagating acoustic waves on collective cell migration. The migration distance estimated at various wave intensities revealed that unidirectional cell migration was enhanced at a critical wave intensity and that it was suppressed as the intensity was further increased. The increased migration might be attributable to cell orientation alignment along the direction of the propagating wave, as characterized by nucleus shape. Thicker actin bundles indicative of a high traction force were observed in cells subjected to propagating acoustic waves at the critical intensity. Our device and technique can be useful for regulating cellular functions associated with cell migration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number90
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (2019R1A6A3A13091441, 2021R1A2C2009070, 2021R1A4A1032207), the Institute of Convergence Science (ICONS) at Yonsei University, a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, in part by a MEXT Grant-in-Aid for the Program for Leading Graduate Schools, and the Keio University Research Grant for Young Researcher’s Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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