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24. Hydrogels with cell adhesion peptide‐decorated channel walls for cell guidance

August 2020

Shuang Wang, Mariah Sarwat, Peng Wang, Denver C Surrao, Damien G Harkin, James A St John, Eleonore CL Bolle, Aurelien Forget, Paul D Dalton, Tim R Dargaville

A method is reported for making hollow channels within hydrogels decorated with cell‐adhesion peptides exclusively at the channel surface. Sacrificial fibers of different diameters are used to introduce channels within poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels crosslinked with maleimide‐thiol chemistry, which are backfilled with a cysteine‐containing peptide solution which is conjugated to the lumen with good spatial efficiency. This allows for peptide patterning in only the areas of the hydrogel where they are needed when used as cell‐guides, reducing the amount of required peptide 20‐fold when compared to bulk functionalization. The power of this approach is highlighted by successfully using these patterned hydrogels without active perfusion to guide fibroblasts and olfactory ensheathing cells—the latter having unique potential in neural repair therapies.