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Bio-fabrication and physiological self-release of tissue equivalents using smart peptide amphiphile templates

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ricardo Martins GouveiaORCiD, Professor Che ConnonORCiD



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


In this study we applied a smart biomaterial formed from a self-assembling, multi-functional synthetic peptide amphiphile (PA) to coat substrates with various surface chemistries. The combination of PA coating and alignment-inducing functionalised substrates provided a template to instruct human corneal stromal fibroblasts to adhere, become aligned and then bio-fabricate a highly-ordered, multi-layered, three-dimensional tissue by depositing an aligned, native-like extracellular matrix. The newly-formed corneal tissue equivalent was subsequently able to eliminate the adhesive properties of the template and govern its own complete release via the action of endogenous proteases. Tissues recovered through this method were structurally stable, easily handled, and carrier-free. Furthermore, topographical and mechanical analysis by atomic force microscopy showed that tissue equivalents formed on the alignment-inducing PA template had highly-ordered, compact collagen deposition, with a two-fold higher elastic modulus compared to the less compact tissues produced on the non-alignment template, the PA-coated glass. We suggest that this technology represents a new paradigm in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, whereby all processes for the bio-fabrication and subsequent self-release of natural, bio-prosthetic human tissues depend solely on simple template-tissue feedback interactions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gouveia RM, Hamley IW, Connon CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

Year: 2015

Volume: 26

Issue: 10

Print publication date: 01/10/2015

Online publication date: 28/09/2015

Acceptance date: 21/09/2015

Date deposited: 17/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0957-4530

ISSN (electronic): 1573-4838

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10856-015-5581-5


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/I008187/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC Grant)