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Tuning Physical Properties of GelMA Hydrogels through Microarchitecture for Engineering Osteoid Tissue

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posted on 2023-12-16, 14:22 authored by Ewa Walejewska, Ferry P. W. Melchels, Alessia Paradiso, Andrew McCormack, Karol Szlazak, Alicja Olszewska, Michal Srebrzynski, Wojciech Swieszkowski
Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels have gained significant attention due to their biocompatibility and tunable properties. Here, a new approach to engineer GelMA-based matrices to mimic the osteoid matrix is provided. Two cross-linking methods were employed to mimic the tissue stiffness: standard cross-linking (SC) based on visible light exposure (VL) and dual cross-linking (DC) involving physical gelation, followed by VL. It was demonstrated that by reducing the GelMA concentration from 10% (G10) to 5% (G5), the dual-cross-linked G5 achieved a compressive modulus of ∼17 kPa and showed the ability to support bone formation, as evidenced by alkaline phosphatase detection over 3 weeks of incubation in osteogenic medium. Moreover, incorporating poly­(ethylene) oxide (PEO) into the G5 and G10 samples was found to hinder the fabrication of highly porous hydrogels, leading to compromised cell survival and reduced osteogenic differentiation, as a consequence of incomplete PEO removal.

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