Publication details

Covalently cross-linked hyaluronic acid BASED hydrogels with tunable properties for cell culturing



Year of publication 2021
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description Cells can recognize various cues by extracellular matrix (ECM), starting from numerous chemical signals or proteins interactions to the mechanical properties of ECM itself. Each cell type favors a different set of these cues to work correctly. Therefore, a classical approach to in vitro cell culturing on plastic or glass surfaces comes with limitations as they do not mimic ECM. There is a growing need for a biocompatible scaffold for cell cultures with tunable mechanical properties and bioactivity in recent years. In this study, we present covalently cross-linked hyaluronic acid hydrogels, --established cross-linking chemistry with the addition of biomolecules (serum albumin, gelatin, collagen) long-term stability with the biocompatibility of the hydrogel. The tunable mechanical properties allow to preparation of hydrogels of various elastic properties, numerically characterized as Young’s Modulus (YM) in the range from 0.1 to 20 kPa. Mechanical properties, internal structure, layer thickness, swelling capacity, and hydrogel biocompatibility were characterized by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Holographic Microscopy (HM), Confocal microscopy, and viability assay, respectively. Young’s Modulus and actin structure were compared when mouse embryonic fibroblasts were cultivated on hydrogels and standard cultivation surfaces such as glass, plastic, and 0.1% gelatine. Results showed that cells on hydrogels were significantly softer, than on the standard surfaces as a group. Morphologically, cells on hydrogels tended to grow into the gel as opposed to stiff surfaces. Moreover, cells on hydrogels showed rich actin structures and the presence of filopodia. Lastly, our experiments with HL-1 cardiomyocytes with HA--based hydrogels showed great potential in improving electric activity and increased cell monolayer formation. This study demonstrated that our hyaluronan-based hydrogel system could be utilized as a better option for cell culture. In addition, our hydrogels system can also be functionalized with active molecules to further modulate cells in vitro.

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