Researchers on the College of Illinois Chicago have developed a novel technique for exactly controlling the deposition of hydrogel, which is fabricated from water-soluble polymers generally used to help cells in experiments or for therapeutic functions.
Hydrogel mimics the extracellular matrix – the pure surroundings of cells within the physique.
The researchers observed that their approach – which permits for the encapsulation of a single cell inside a minute hydrogel droplet – can be utilized to coax bone marrow stem cells into specialised cells.
Their findings are reported within the journal Superior Science.
The brand new approach is an enchancment over present approaches that always combine a lot bigger quantities of hydrogel with cells in an uncontrolled method, which might make interactions between cells and their environment troublesome to check.
The brand new hydrogel deposition approach may be helpful for therapeutic functions, resembling for supporting stem cells used to create new tissues.
“Most experiments use a really excessive quantity of hydrogels to interface with cells, which can not replicate what is occurring within the physique,” mentioned UIC’s Jae-Received Shin, assistant professor of pharmacology and regenerative drugs on the Faculty of Medication, and assistant professor of bioengineering on the Faculty of Engineering, and corresponding writer on the paper.
In response to Shin, the workforce’s deposition approach brings the ratio between hydrogels and cells in-line with what’s seen within the physique, and importantly, exactly controls the ratio on a single cell foundation.
Shin and colleagues additionally noticed that stem cells in thinner gel droplets expanded extra quickly than they did in bulk gels.
We noticed that stem cells broaden a number of orders of magnitude quicker in skinny gel droplets, and they also expertise extra pressure than they do in bulk gels fabricated from the identical materials. We consider this pressure encourages stem cells in skinny gel coatings to extra readily develop into bone cells, in comparison with stem cells in bulk gels.”
Sing Wan Wong, Examine First Writer and Postdoctoral Fellow, Jae-Received Shin laboratory, College of Illinois at Chicago
The workforce believes the skinny hydrogel deposition approach might assist in the manufacturing of bone tissue from stem cells to make use of as regenerative therapeutics.