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Polymers 2016, 8(4), 112;

PEG-Chitosan Hydrogel with Tunable Stiffness for Study of Drug Response of Breast Cancer Cells

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington, 302L Roberts Hall, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Department of Molecular Engineering and Science Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jianxun Ding
Received: 5 March 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Medical Applications)
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Mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix have a profound effect on the behavior of anchorage-dependent cells. However, the mechanisms that define the effects of matrix stiffness on cell behavior remains unclear. Therefore, the development and fabrication of synthetic matrices with well-defined stiffness is invaluable for studying the interactions of cells with their biophysical microenvironment in vitro. We demonstrate a methoxypolyethylene glycol (mPEG)-modified chitosan hydrogel network where hydrogel stiffness can be easily modulated under physiological conditions by adjusting the degree of mPEG grafting onto chitosan (PEGylation). We show that the storage modulus of the hydrogel increases as PEGylation decreases and the gels exhibit instant self-recovery after deformation. Breast cancer cells cultured on the stiffest hydrogels adopt a more malignant phenotype with increased resistance to doxorubicin as compared with cells cultured on tissue culture polystyrene or Matrigel. This work demonstrates the utility of mPEG-modified chitosan hydrogel, with tunable mechanical properties, as an improved replacement of conventional culture system for in vitro characterization of breast cancer cell phenotype and evaluation of cancer therapies. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrogel; chitosan; stiffness; modulus; tunable; extracellular matrix hydrogel; chitosan; stiffness; modulus; tunable; extracellular matrix

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Chang, F.-C.; Tsao, C.-T.; Lin, A.; Zhang, M.; Levengood, S.L.; Zhang, M. PEG-Chitosan Hydrogel with Tunable Stiffness for Study of Drug Response of Breast Cancer Cells. Polymers 2016, 8, 112.

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