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Galactose-Functionalized PolyHIPE Scaffolds for Use in Routine Three Dimensional Culture of Mammalian Hepatocytes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Naoko Sano, Dr Neil Cameron



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture is regarded as a more physiologically relevant method of growing cells in the laboratory compared to traditional monolayer cultures. Recently, the application of polystyrene-based scaffolds produced using polyHIPE technology (porous polymers derived from high internal phase emulsions) for routine 3D cell culture applications has generated very promising results in terms of improved replication of native cellular function in the laboratory. These materials, which are now available as commercial scaffolds, are superior to many other 3D cell substrates due to their high porosity, controllable morphology, and suitable mechanical strength. However, until now there have been no reports describing the surface-modification of these materials for enhanced cell adhesion and function. This study, therefore, describes the surface functionalization of these materials with galactose, a carbohydrate known to specifically bind to hepatocytes via the asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR), to further improve hepatocyte adhesion and function when growing on the scaffold. We first modify a typical polystyrene-based polyHIPE to produce a cell culture scaffold carrying pendent activated-ester functionality. This was achieved via the incorporation of pentafluorophenyl acrylate (PFPA) into the initial styrene (STY) emulsion, which upon polymerization formed a polyHIPE with a porosity of 92% and an average void diameter of 33 mu m. Histological analysis showed that this polyHIPE was a suitable 3D scaffold for hepatocyte cell culture. Galactose-functionalized scaffolds were then prepared by attaching 2'-aminoethyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside to this PFPA functionalized polyHIPE via displacement of the labile pentafluorophenyl group, to yield scaffolds with approximately ca. 7-9% surface carbohydrate. Experiments with primary rat hepatocytes showed that cellular albumin synthesis was greatly enhanced during the initial adhesion/settlement period of cells on the galactose-functionalized material, suggesting that the surface carbohydrates are accessible and selective to cells entering the scaffold. This porous polymer scaffold could, therefore, have important application as a 3D scaffold that offers enhanced hepatocyte adhesion and functionality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hayward AS, Eissa AM, Maltman DJ, Sano N, Przyborski SA, Cameron NR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biomacromolecules

Year: 2013

Volume: 14

Issue: 12

Pages: 4271-4277

Print publication date: 09/12/2013

Online publication date: 01/11/2013

Date deposited: 08/01/2016

ISSN (print): 1525-7797

ISSN (electronic): 1526-4602

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/bm401145x


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