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      3D Culture of Chondrocytes in Gelatin Hydrogels with Different Stiffness

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          Abstract

          Gelatin hydrogels can mimic the microenvironments of natural tissues and encapsulate cells homogeneously, which makes them attractive for cartilage tissue engineering. Both the mechanical and biochemical properties of hydrogels can affect the phenotype of chondrocytes. However, the influence of each property on chondrocyte phenotype is unclear due to the difficulty in separating the roles of these properties. In this study, we aimed to study the influence of hydrogel stiffness on chondrocyte phenotype while excluding the role of biochemical factors, such as adhesion site density in the hydrogels. By altering the degree of methacryloyl functionalization, gelatin hydrogels with different stiffnesses of 3.8, 17.1, and 29.9 kPa Young’s modulus were prepared from the same concentration of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) macromers. Bovine articular chondrocytes were encapsulated in the hydrogels and cultured for 14 days. The influence of hydrogel stiffness on the cell behaviors including cell viability, cell morphology, and maintenance of chondrogenic phenotype was evaluated. GelMA hydrogels with high stiffness (29.9 kPa) showed the best results on maintaining chondrogenic phenotype. These results will be useful for the design and preparation of scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Effects of substrate stiffness on cell morphology, cytoskeletal structure, and adhesion.

          The morphology and cytoskeletal structure of fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and neutrophils are documented for cells cultured on surfaces with stiffness ranging from 2 to 55,000 Pa that have been laminated with fibronectin or collagen as adhesive ligand. When grown in sparse culture with no cell-cell contacts, fibroblasts and endothelial cells show an abrupt change in spread area that occurs at a stiffness range around 3,000 Pa. No actin stress fibers are seen in fibroblasts on soft surfaces, and the appearance of stress fibers is abrupt and complete at a stiffness range coincident with that at which they spread. Upregulation of alpha5 integrin also occurs in the same stiffness range, but exogenous expression of alpha5 integrin is not sufficient to cause cell spreading on soft surfaces. Neutrophils, in contrast, show no dependence of either resting shape or ability to spread after activation when cultured on surfaces as soft as 2 Pa compared to glass. The shape and cytoskeletal differences evident in single cells on soft compared to hard substrates are eliminated when fibroblasts or endothelial cells make cell-cell contact. These results support the hypothesis that mechanical factors impact different cell types in fundamentally different ways, and can trigger specific changes similar to those stimulated by soluble ligands. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Plasticity of cell migration: a multiscale tuning model

            Cell migration underlies tissue formation, maintenance, and regeneration as well as pathological conditions such as cancer invasion. Structural and molecular determinants of both tissue environment and cell behavior define whether cells migrate individually (through amoeboid or mesenchymal modes) or collectively. Using a multiparameter tuning model, we describe how dimension, density, stiffness, and orientation of the extracellular matrix together with cell determinants—including cell–cell and cell–matrix adhesion, cytoskeletal polarity and stiffness, and pericellular proteolysis—interdependently control migration mode and efficiency. Motile cells integrate variable inputs to adjust interactions among themselves and with the matrix to dictate the migration mode. The tuning model provides a matrix of parameters that control cell movement as an adaptive and interconvertible process with relevance to different physiological and pathological contexts.
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              Degradation-mediated cellular traction directs stem cell fate in covalently crosslinked three-dimensional hydrogels

              Although cell-matrix adhesive interactions are known to regulate stem cell differentiation, the underlying mechanisms, in particular for direct three-dimensional (3D) encapsulation within hydrogels, are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that in covalently crosslinked hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels, the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) is directed by the generation of degradation-mediated cellular-traction, independent of cell morphology or matrix mechanics. hMSCs within HA hydrogels of equivalent elastic moduli that either permit (restrict) cell-mediated degradation exhibited high (low) degrees of cell spreading and high (low) tractions, and favoured osteogenesis (adipogenesis). In addition, switching the permissive hydrogel to a restrictive state via delayed secondary crosslinking reduced further hydrogel degradation, suppressed traction, and caused a switch from osteogenesis to adipogenesis in the absence of changes to the extended cellular morphology. Also, inhibiting tension-mediated signalling in the permissive environment mirrored the effects of delayed secondary crosslinking, whereas upregulating tension induced osteogenesis even in the restrictive environment.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Polymers (Basel)
                Polymers (Basel)
                polymers
                Polymers
                MDPI
                2073-4360
                26 July 2016
                August 2016
                : 8
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, National Institute for Materials Science, 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan; LI.Xiaomeng@ 123456nims.go.jp (X.L.); shangwu.chan@ 123456gmail.com (S.C.); LI.Jingchao@ 123456nims.go.jp (J.L.); WANG.Xinlong@ 123456nims.go.jp (X.W.); ZHANG.Jing@ 123456nims.go.jp (J.Z.); KAWAZOE.Naoki@ 123456nims.go.jp (N.K.)
                [2 ]Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8577, Japan
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Guoping.CHEN@ 123456nims.go.jp ; Tel.: +81-29-860-4496; Fax: +81-29-860-4714
                Article
                polymers-08-00269
                10.3390/polym8080269
                6431829
                © 2016 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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