The role of hydrogels with tethered acetylcholine functionality on the adhesion and viability of hippocampal neurons and glial cells
In neural tissue engineering, designing materials with the right chemical cues is crucial in providing a permissive microenvironment to encourage and guide neuronal cell attachment and differentiation. Modifying synthetic hydrogels with biologically active molecules has become an increasingly important route in this field to provide a successful biomaterial and cell interaction. This study presents a strategy of using the monomer 2-methacryloxyethyl trimethylammonium chloride (MAETAC) to provide tethered neurotransmitter acetylcholine-like functionality with a complete 2-acetoxy-N,N,N-trimethylethanaminium segment, thereby modifying the properties of commonly used, non-adhesive PEG-based hydrogels. The effect of the functional monomer concentration on the physical properties of the hydrogels was systematically studied, and the resulting hydrogels were also evaluated for mice hippocampal neural cell attachment and growth. Results from this study showed that MAETAC in the hydrogels promotes neuronal cell attachment and differentiation in a concentration-dependent manner, different proportions of MAETAC monomer in the reaction mixture produce hydrogels with different porous structures, swollen states, and mechanical strengths. Growth of mice hippocampal cells cultured on the hydrogels showed differences in number, length of processes and exhibited different survival rates. Our results indicate that chemical composition of the biomaterials is a key factor in neural cell attachment and growth, and integration of the appropriate amount of tethered neurotransmitter functionalities can be a simple and effective way to optimize existing biomaterials for neuronal tissue engineering applications.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 33, Issue 8, March 2012, Pages 2473–2481