Cellular and

microenvironmental features

2-dimensional culture

3-dimensional culture


Cell morphology

Typically flattened and unconstrained spreading on the substrate

Depending on the adhesion ligands used, cells can be spherical, spindle shaped or exist as multicellular aggregates

Cytoskeletal structure

Display thick bundles of well-developed ventral stress fibers

Few thin stress fibers found near the cell cortex

Gene and protein expression

Similarities with in vivo counterparts are lacking

Generally more in vivo-like

Cell differentiation

Two-dimensional inducts cell differentiation

Three-dimensional space is closer to the intracellular microenvironment