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Self-assembling peptide hydrogels : directing cell behaviour by chemical composition

Jayawarna, V. and Richardson, S. M. and Gough, J. and Ulijn, R. (2008) Self-assembling peptide hydrogels : directing cell behaviour by chemical composition. Tissue Engineering Part A, 14 (5). p. 908. ISSN 1937-3341

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    Over recent years, there has been a growing interest in the design of self-assembly systems using aromatic short peptide derivatives for biomedical applications including 3D cell culture. We previously demonstrated that these peptides derivatives self-assemble into stiff nano structural hydrogels with tunable properties( Jayawarna V., et al., Adv.Mater.18(2006). These materials have already shown to be successful in cell culture of chondrocytes, they have not been tested for other cell types. Initial testing of the Fmoc-Phe-Phe-OH with skin cells such as human dermal fibroblasts and Mouse 3T3 cells highlighted some limitations and some development areas in terms of long term gel performance, stability and applications. The objective of this paper therefore is to investigate the design and the development potential of a series of peptide hydrogel systems of different chemical compositions were achieved through mixing Fmoc-Phe-Phe-OH with positively changed (Lysine), uncharged/polar (Serine) and negatively charged (Glutamic acid) Fmoc amino acids. The propensity of these hydrogel systems to promote proliferation, survival and proliferation of chondrocytes, 3T3 and HDF cells have also been tested. In addition methods were developed to form gels rapidly upon expose to culture media for both 2D and 3D cell culture applications. Hydrogels were characterised using FTIR and TEM. The results suggest that these peptide systems undergo spontaneous assembly into nanofibre scaffolds by mainly adopting an antiparallel b-sheet conformation. Both 2D and 3D cell culture analysis shows that these new hydrogels give rise to improved culturing of different cell types with respect to the Fmoc-Phe-Phe-OH hydrogel.