COMBINATORIAL SCREENING OF HYDROGEL PROPERTIES FOR 3-D TISSUE CULTURE: EFFECT OF MATRIX STIFFNESS ON ENCAPSULATED OSTEOBLASTS

 

Kaushik Chatterjee1,2, Sheng Lin-Gibson1, William E. Wallace1, Marian F. Young2, and Carl G. Simon, Jr1

 

1Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

2National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

 

Despite the promise of regenerative medicine and billions of dollars of investments in tissue engineering research, few successful products are available in the market.  Combinatorial techniques to rapidly screen cell-biomaterial interactions can provide a plausible route towards accelerating the pace of developing tissue-engineered products. Since three-dimensional (3-D) culture of cells has been shown to provide more physiologically-relevant outcomes, this work focuses on the development of a combinatorial platform to screen biomaterials in a 3-D cell culture format.  A simple and low-cost platform was assembled using a gradient maker to prepare gradients of photopolymerizable poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels encapsulating mouse osteoblast MC3T3-E1 cells.  Hydrogels with gradients spanning a 30-fold range of compressive modulus (~10 kPa to ~300 kPa) were prepared by varying the mass fraction of the solid polymer.  The effect of matrix stiffness in 3-D cell culture was studied in these gradient hydrogels.  Whereas a decrease in gel stiffness enhanced cell survival, an increase in matrix stiffness was found to promote cell differentiation.   Prolonged cell culture induced formation of visible gradients of mineral deposits within the hydrogels. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the gradient scaffold platform and can provide a more relevant method for accelerated screening of cell-material interactions.

 


 

CATEGORY: Biology, Biotechnology, Materials

Author: Kaushik Chatterjee (not Sigma Xi member)

Mentors: Carl Simon (Sigma Xi member) and Marian Young (not Sigma Xi member)

Polymers Division (854), MSEL

Bldg. 224, Rm. B118, Stop 8543

Phone: 301-975-4631

Fax: 301-975-4977

Email: kaushik.chatterjee@nist.gov