Author(s): Frisman I, Seliktar D, BiancoPeled H
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Abstract Recent studies have shown that nanostructuring of scaffolds for tissue engineering has a major impact on their interactions with cells. The current investigation focuses on nanostructuring of a biocompatible, biosynthetic polymeric hydrogel scaffold made from crosslinked poly(ethylene glycol)-fibrinogen conjugates. Nanostructuring was achieved by the addition of the block copolymer Pluronic F127, which self-assembles into nanometric micelles at certain concentrations and temperatures. Cryo-transmission electron microscopy experiments detected F127 micelles, both embedded within PEGylated fibrinogen hydrogels and in solution. The density of the F127 micelles, as well as their ordering, increased with increasing block copolymer concentration. The mechanical properties of the nanostructured hydrogels were investigated using stress-sweep rheological testing. These tests revealed a correlation between the block copolymer concentration and the storage modulus of the composite hydrogels. In vitro cellular assays confirmed that the increased modulus of the hydrogels did not limit the ability of the cells to form extensions and become spindled within the three-dimensional (3-D) hydrogel culture environment. Thus, altering the nanostructure of the hydrogel may be used as a strategy to control cellular behavior in 3-D through changes in mechanical properties of the environment. Copyright 2009 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Acta Biomater
and referenced in Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials