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Regulation of Stem Cell Fate in a Three-Dimensional Micropatterned Dual-Crosslinked Hydrogel System

Authors

  • Oju Jeon,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
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  • Eben Alsberg

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
    2. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
    • Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.
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Abstract

Micropatterning technology is a powerful tool for controlling the cellular microenvironment and investigating the effects of physical parameters on cell behaviors, such as migration, proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation. Although there have been significant developments in regulating the spatial and temporal distribution of physical properties in various materials, little is known about the role of the size of micropatterned regions of hydrogels with different crosslinking densities on the response of encapsulated cells. In this study, a novel alginate hydrogel system that can be micropatterned three-dimensionally is engineered to create regions that are crosslinked by a single mechanism or dual mechanisms. By manipulating micropattern size while keeping the overall ratio of single- to dual-crosslinked hydrogel volume constant, the physical properties of the micropatterned alginate hydrogels are spatially tunable. When human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) are photoencapsulated within micropatterned hydrogels, their proliferation rate is a function of micropattern size. Additionally, micropattern size dictates the extent of osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of photoencapsulated hASC. The size of 3D micropatterned physical properties in this new hydrogel system introduces a new design parameter for regulating various cellular behaviors, and this dual-crosslinked hydrogel system provides a new platform for studying proliferation and differentiation of stem cells in a spatially controlled manner for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.

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