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Generation of bio-mimetic environments on cell-chip surface using hydrogel

Generation of bio-mimetic environments on cell-chip surface using hydrogel

  • Developing bio-mimetic cell-chips requires modifying their surfaces to be more cell-friendly. Using hydrogel, a biocompatible polymeric network swollen by water, we modify the interior of PDMS-based microfluidic cell-chip device to create mechanically and geometrically cell-friendly environments.
  • To modify mechanical, geometrical, and biochemical properties of traditional PDMS-based microfluidic cell-chips, which are much stiffer than biological tissues, rectangular in their cross-sections, and hydrophobic, respectively, we coat the inner walls of the cell-chips with hydrogel to make them as soft as biological tissues, circular in their cross-section, and hydrophilic and cell-adhesive as ECM. To spatially control the formation of hydrogel within cell-chips, we synthesized the photo-crosslinkable hyaluronic acid, a major ECM component.
    Figure 4. Synthesis of photo-crosslinkable hyaluronic acid (1H-NMR)
  • To create cell-chips mimicking blood vessels, we coat the photo-crosslinked hydrogel inside cell-chips to form a lumen with circular cross-sections and elastic modulus similar to biological tissues (100 – 102 kPa). For visualization, we add fluorescent monomer (rhodamine B acrylate) for the gelation (Figure: a laser scanning confocal micrograph of hydrogel lumen covering the interior of PDMS-based cell-chips). To make hydrogel surface cell-adhesive, we functionalized hydrogel with integrin (cell-membrane protein) binding RGD peptide.
    Figure 5. A laser scanning confocal micrographs of hydrogel lumen inside cell-chips

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