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Materials 2016, 9(9), 727; doi:10.3390/ma9090727

Design of Decorated Self-Assembling Peptide Hydrogels as Architecture for Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padua, Padua 35131, Italy
National Research Council (CNR)—Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering, Genoa 16149, Italy
Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and System Engineering (DIBRIS), University of Genoa, Genoa 16145, Italy
Laboratory for Molecular Surfaces and Nanotechnology (LAMSUN), Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Catania and CSGI, Catania 95125, Italy
Institute of Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials—CNR, Naples 80125, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Frank A. Müller
Received: 29 April 2016 / Revised: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired and Biomimetic Materials)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [9809 KB, uploaded 26 August 2016]   |  


Hydrogels from self-assembling ionic complementary peptides have been receiving a lot of interest from the scientific community as mimetic of the extracellular matrix that can offer three-dimensional supports for cell growth or can become vehicles for the delivery of stem cells, drugs or bioactive proteins. In order to develop a 3D “architecture” for mesenchymal stem cells, we propose the introduction in the hydrogel of conjugates obtained by chemoselective ligation between a ionic-complementary self-assembling peptide (called EAK) and three different bioactive molecules: an adhesive sequence with 4 Glycine-Arginine-Glycine-Aspartic Acid-Serine-Proline (GRGDSP) motifs per chain, an adhesive peptide mapped on h-Vitronectin and the growth factor Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). The mesenchymal stem cell adhesion assays showed a significant increase in adhesion and proliferation for the hydrogels decorated with each of the synthesized conjugates; moreover, such functionalized 3D hydrogels support cell spreading and elongation, validating the use of this class of self-assembly peptides-based material as very promising 3D model scaffolds for cell cultures, at variance of the less realistic 2D ones. Furthermore, small amplitude oscillatory shear tests showed that the presence of IGF-1-conjugate did not alter significantly the viscoelastic properties of the hydrogels even though differences were observed in the nanoscale structure of the scaffolds obtained by changing their composition, ranging from long, well-defined fibers for conjugates with adhesion sequences to the compact and dense film for the IGF-1-conjugate. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-assembling peptides; mesenchymal stem cells; bio-transamination; chemoselective ligation; IGF-1; vitronectin; RGD self-assembling peptides; mesenchymal stem cells; bio-transamination; chemoselective ligation; IGF-1; vitronectin; RGD

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zamuner, A.; Cavo, M.; Scaglione, S.; Messina, G.M.L.; Russo, T.; Gloria, A.; Marletta, G.; Dettin, M. Design of Decorated Self-Assembling Peptide Hydrogels as Architecture for Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Materials 2016, 9, 727.

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