Hydrogels containing metallic glass sub-micron wires for regulating skeletal muscle cell behaviour
Hydrogels with tunable electrical and mechanical properties have a wide range of biological applications in tissue engineering, biosensing, and biorobotics. In this work, palladium-based metallic glass sub-micron wires (PdMGSMWs) were employed to enhance the conductivity and mechanical strength of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) gels. The values of electrical resistivity and stiffness of hybrid GelMA-PdMGSMW hydrogels were varied by the concentration of the sub-micron wires in the gels. Compared with pristine GelMA gels, hybrid GelMA-PdMGSMW gels were more efficient in regulating adhesion and spreading of C2C12 myoblasts. Formation, contractility, and metabolic activity of C2C12 myotubes in GelMA hydrogels also increased upon inclusion of the PdMGSMWs and applying electrical stimulation. The latter phenomenon is likely because of the electrical conductivity of hybrid GelMA gels.