Noviogel hydrogels can be crosslinked after cell or organoid culture without loss of the reversible thermosensitive property during culture.
In a recent Nature communications paper of the group of Paul Kouwer, they discovered how they can stabilize the Noviogel hydrogel without disadvantages. They developed a method that would stabilise the hydrogel by selectively crosslinking the polymers inside the bundles and retain the architecture of the hydrogel.
As the project progressed, they realized that the synthetic nature of Noviogel, our synthetic, biomimetic hydrogel, allows to change the gelation conditions much more than would be possible with biological materials. For example, the gels can be formed (and subsequently crosslinked) at different temperatures that exhibit different mechanical properties with virtually the same network structure (and concentration). This level of variability is simply impossible with biological materials.
Because of the reversible thermosensitive behavior of Noviogel, some researchers experience difficulties in using the hydrogel for immune staining. By using a crosslinker after culture, the properties of Noviogel are still intact like ease of use in cell passaging and retrieval of cells for other downstream applications. However, the difficulties experienced with immunostaining can now be solved with the solution reported in this latest Nature Communication paper.
Reference: D.C. Schoenmakers, A.E. Rowan & P.H.J. Kouwer, Crosslinking of fibrous hydrogels. Nat. Commun. 9, 2172 (2018).