Interpenetrating networks based on gelatin methacrylamide and PEG formed using concurrent thiol click chemistries for hydrogel tissue engineering scaffolds
The integration of biological extracellular matrix (ECM) components and synthetic materials is a promising pathway to fabricate the next generation of hydrogel-based tissue scaffolds that more accurately emulate the microscale heterogeneity of natural ECM. We report the development of a bio/synthetic interpenetrating network (BioSINx), containing gelatin methacrylamide (GelMA) polymerized within a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) framework to form a mechanically robust network capable of supporting both internal cell encapsulation and surface cell adherence. The covalently crosslinked PEG network was formed by thiol-yne coupling, while the bioactive GelMA was integrated using a concurrent thiol-ene coupling reaction. The physical properties (i.e. swelling, modulus) of BioSINx were compared to both PEG networks with physically-incorporated gelatin (BioSINP) and homogenous hydrogels. BioSINx displayed superior physical properties and significantly lower gelatin dissolution. These benefits led to enhanced cytocompatibility for both cell adhesion and encapsulation; furthermore, the increased physical strength provided for the generation of a micro-engineered tissue scaffold. Endothelial cells showed extensive cytoplasmic spreading and the formation of cellular adhesion sites when cultured onto BioSINx; moreover, both encapsulated and adherent cells showed sustained viability and proliferation.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 35, Issue 6, February 2014, Pages 1845–1856