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There is a lack of hydrogel materials whose properties can be tuned at the point of use. Biological hydrogels, such as collagen, gelate at physiological temperatures; however, they are not always ideal as scaffolds because of their low mechanical strength. Their mechanics can be improved through cross-linking and chemical modification, but these methods still require further synthesis. We have demonstrated that by combining collagen with a thermoresponsive polymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM), the mechanical properties can be improved while maintaining cytocompatibility. Furthermore, different concentrations of this polymer led to a range of hydrogels with shear moduli ranging from 10(5) Pa down to less than 10(2) Pa, similar to the soft tissues in the body. In addition to variable mechanical properties, the hydrogel blends have a range of micron-scale structures and porosities, which caused adipose-derived stromal cells (ADSCs) to adopt different morphologies when encapsulated within and may therefore be able to direct cell fate.

Original publication

DOI

10.1021/acs.biomac.5b01251

Type

Journal article

Journal

Biomacromolecules

Publication Date

03/2016

Volume

17

Pages

723 - 734

Addresses

Centre for Immunology and Infection, Department of Biology, University of York , York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.

Keywords

Humans, Collagen, Acrylic Resins, Hydrogels, Cross-Linking Reagents, Tensile Strength, Mechanical Phenomena, Mesenchymal Stromal Cells