Next-generation hydrogels can perform as synthetic scaffolds to support the formation of replacement tissues and organs in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. This technology is expected to be used for the growth of essential microvascular networks to ensure blood supply.
Saniya Ali and co-authors from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, and Duke University, Durham, NC, created a biodegradable hydrogel-based scaffold containing the protein laminin. Laminins are key component propeptides of cells’ extracellular matrix and play important roles in the attachment, movement, and organization of endothelial cells, which form the lining of tubules such as blood vessels. Controlling the formation and growth of these tubule structures is essential to ensure sufficient blood supply to support large complex tissues or organs.
In this study, the hydrogels functionalized with laminin-derived peptides were transplanted in a mouse cornea and were shown to support cell growth and blood vessel formation. The results of animal studies were presented in the article “Immobilization of Cell-Adhesive Laminin Peptides in Degradable PEGDA Hydrogels Influences Endothelial Cell Tubulogenesis,” which is available in open online access of the journal BioResearch from Mary Anna Lievert, Inc.
“Enhancing vascularization in synthetic scaffolds is essential to support the formation of blood vessels in engineered tissues,” says BioResearch Open Access Editor Jane Taylor, PhD, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. “The work in this study demonstrates that laminin-derived peptide sequences immobilized in synthetic scaffolds can be used to regulate the formation of microvasculature in tissue-engineered constructs.”