Continuous gradient scaffolds for rapid screening of cell–material interactions and interfacial tissue regeneration
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In tissue engineering, the physical and chemical properties of the scaffold mediates cell behavior, including regeneration. Thus a strategy that permits rapid screening of cell-scaffold interactions is critical. Herein, we have prepared eight "hybrid" hydrogel scaffolds in the form of continuous gradients such that a single scaffold contains spatially varied properties. These scaffolds are based on combining an inorganic macromer (methacrylated star polydimethylsiloxane, PDMSstar-MA) and organic macromer (poly(ethylene glycol)diacrylate, PEG-DA) as well as both aqueous and organic fabrication solvents. Having previously demonstrated its bioactivity and osteoinductivity, PDMSstar-MA is a particularly powerful component to incorporate into instructive gradient scaffolds based on PEG-DA. The following parameters were varied to produce the different gradients or gradual transitions in: (1) the wt.% ratio of PDMSstar-MA to PEG-DA macromers, (2) the total wt.% macromer concentration, (3) the number average molecular weight (Mn) of PEG-DA and (4) the Mn of PDMSstar-MA. Upon dividing each scaffold into four "zones" perpendicular to the gradient, we were able to demonstrate the spatial variation in morphology, bioactivity, swelling and modulus. Among these gradient scaffolds are those in which swelling and modulus are conveniently decoupled. In addition to rapid screening of cell-material interactions, these scaffolds are well suited for regeneration of interfacial tissues (e.g. osteochondral tissues) that transition from one tissue type to another.
author list (cited authors)
Bailey, B. M., Nail, L. N., & Grunlan, M. A.