Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture platforms are increasingly utilized due to their ability to more closely mimic the in vivo microenvironment compared to traditional two-dimensional methods. Limitations of currently available 3D materials include lack of cell attachment, long polymerization times, and inclusion of undefined xenobiotics, and cytotoxic cross-linkers. Evaluated here is a unique hydrogel comprised of polyelectrolytic complex (PEC) fibers formed by hyaluronic acid and chitosan (CT). When hydrated with fetal bovine serum containing human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs), a hydrogel with an elastic modulus of 264±38Pa formed in seconds with cells distributed throughout the matrix. Scanning electron microscopy showed a lattice-like meshwork of PEC fibers forming irregular compartments. hMSCs showed 48% viability during the first 24h, with cell populations thereafter reaching a steady state for 14 days. hMSCs in the matrix were induced to differentiate to chondrogenic, osteogenic, and adipogenic phenotypes. Emergent features, at days 56 and 70, consisted of chondrogenesis on the surface of hydrogels induced to osteogenic and adipogenic phenotypes. Results indicate that this matrix may be useful for tissue engineering and disease modeling applications.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.