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Alginate Hydrogel Has a Negative Impact on in Vitro Collagen 1 Deposition by Fibroblasts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Hunt


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Hydrogels have been widely investigated as 3D culture substrates because of their reported structural similarity to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Limited ECM deposition, however, occurs within these materials, so the resulting "tissues" bear little resemblance to those found in the body. Here matrix deposition by fibroblasts encapsulated within a calcium alginate (Ca-alg) hydrogel was investigated. Although the cells transcribed mRNA for coil I alpha over a period of 3 weeks, very little collagen protein deposition was observed within the gel by histology or immunohistochemistry (IHC). Although molecular diffusion demonstrated charge dependency, this did not prevent the flux of both positively and negative charged amino acids through the gel, suggesting that the absence of ECM could not be attributed to substrate limitation. The flux of protein, however, was charge-dependent as proteins with a net negative charge passed quickly through the Ca-alg into the medium. The minimal collagen deposition within the Ca-alg was attributed to a combination of rapid movement of negatively charged procollagen through the gel and steric hindrance of fibril formation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith AM, Hunt NC, Shelton RM, Birdi G, Grover LM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biomacromolecules

Year: 2012

Volume: 13

Issue: 12

Pages: 4032-4038

Print publication date: 19/10/2012

ISSN (print): 1525-7797

ISSN (electronic): 1526-4602

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/bm301321d


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