Photocrosslinkable Kappa-Carrageenan Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Applications

Authors

  • Silvia M. Mihaila,

    1. Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, 02139, USA
    2. 3B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Avepark-Zona Industrial da Gandra, S. Cláudio do Barco, 4806-09, Caldas das Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal and ICVS/3B's-PT, Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
    3. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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  • Akhilesh K. Gaharwar,

    1. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
    2. David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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  • Rui L. Reis,

    1. 3B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Avepark-Zona Industrial da Gandra, S. Cláudio do Barco, 4806-09, Caldas das Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal and ICVS/3B's-PT, Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
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  • Alexandra P. Marques,

    1. 3B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Avepark-Zona Industrial da Gandra, S. Cláudio do Barco, 4806-09, Caldas das Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal and ICVS/3B's-PT, Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
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  • Manuela E. Gomes,

    Corresponding author
    1. 3B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Avepark-Zona Industrial da Gandra, S. Cláudio do Barco, 4806-09, Caldas das Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal and ICVS/3B's-PT, Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
    • 3B's Research Group-Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Avepark-Zona Industrial da Gandra, S. Cláudio do Barco, 4806-09, Caldas das Taipas, Guimarães, Portugal and ICVS/3B's-PT, Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal.
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  • Ali Khademhosseini

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, 02139, USA
    2. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
    3. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
    • Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, 02139, USA
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Abstract

Kappa carrageenan (κ-CA) is a natural-origin polymer that closely mimics the glycosaminoglycan structure, one of the most important constituents of native tissues extracellular matrix. Previously, it has been shown that κ-CA can crosslink via ionic interactions rendering strong, but brittle hydrogels. In this study, we introduce photocrosslinkable methacrylate moieties on the κ-CA backbone to create physically and chemically crosslinked hydrogels highlighting their use in the context of tissue engineering. By varying the degree of methacrylation, the effect on hydrogel crosslinking was investigated in terms of hydration degree, dissolution profiles, morphological, mechanical, and rheological properties. Furthermore, the viability of fibroblast cells cultured inside the photocrosslinked hydrogels was investigated. The combination of chemical and physical crosslinking procedures enables the formation of hydrogels with highly versatile physical and chemical properties, while maintaining the viability of encapsulated cells. To our best knowledge, this is the first study reporting the synthesis of photocrosslinkable κ-CA with controllable compressive moduli, swelling ratios and pore size distributions. Moreover, by micromolding approaches, spatially controlled geometries and cell distribution patterns could be obtained, thus enabling the development of cell-material platforms that can be applied and tailored to a broad range of tissue engineering strategies.

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