G. Della Giustina, S. Giulitti, L. Brigo, M. Zanatta, M. Tromayer, R. Liska, N. Elvassore, G. Brusatin:
"Hydrogel with Orthogonal Reactive Units: 2D and 3D Cross-Linking Modulation";
Macromolecular Rapid Communications,
In this work, an engineered hydrogel system with a 2D and 3D tunable cross-linking degree is presented. A precise chemical design by the introduction of cross-linkable units, having reaction orthogonality, allows to control the network formation both in time and space and to selectively alter the hydrogel physical properties. Hydrogel chemistry has been tailored in order to produce spatially controlled stiffness changes and drive cell morphology through mechanical cues. Elastic modulus rises by more than double after photocross-linking, as shown by atomic force microscopy measurements. Biological response is also analyzed and stiffness-dependent cell spreading and proliferation are verified. Different pattern geometries are successfully realized by UV lithography, allowing 2D cross-linking modulation. Furthermore, 3D mechanical tuning at micro- and submicrometer scale by two-photon polymerization makes this system a biologically relevant matrix to study cell functions and tissue development.
Hydrogel chemistry, 3D mechanical tuning at micro- and submicrometer scale, two-photon polymerization, 2D and 3D Cross-Linking Modulation
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