This recent study published in Acta Biomaterialia (2018) confirms that fibroblasts, endothelial cells, adipose-derived stem cells and melanoma cells, do survive, thrive and differentiate in optimized PIC hydrogels. They support the spontaneous formation of complex structures like blood capillaries in vitro.
Furthermore, the utility of thermo-responsive properties of the hydrogels for a rapid and gentle recovery of viable cells are reported. Finally, organotypic structures of human origin were grown in PIC hydrogels and afterthat successfully transplanted subcutaneously onto immune-compromised rats, on which they survive and integrate into the surrounding tissue.
Noviogel is a novel, fully synthetic, biocompatible, 3D cell environment, namely a hydrogel formed by the water soluble polymer polyisocyano peptide (PIC). The polymer can be decorated with short peptides and in this study a GRGDS was used. These hydrogels also exhibit reversible thermo-responsive behavior. At temperatures below 16 degrees it is a polymer solution whereas above 16 degrees the polymer solution comprises a hydrogel. This flexible behavior is advantageous for cell recovery and allows easy removal of the gel after use. One of the most interesting characteristics of PIC hydrogel is its strain-stiffening property. This in nature wide-spread stiffness behavior, is rarely observed in synthetic scaffolds and increases when the gel is strained.
The above mentioned characteristics of the PIC hydrogel makes it a biofunctional and biomechanical tuneable system for 3D cell culture applications. In this paper is demonstrated that complex biological structures, such as a network of capillaries, can be developed in PIC hydrogels under the appropriate conditions. The excellence of this study was shown in the successful in vivo transplantations of the cellular PIC hydrogels.
Zimoch, J., Padial, J.S., Klar, A.S., Vallmajo-Martin, Q., Meuli, M., Biedermann, T., Wilson, C.J., Rowan, A., Reichmann, E., Polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels: a novel thermo-responsive hydrogel re-vascularization and the development of organotypic structures, Acta Biomaterialia (2018), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2018.01.042