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Issue 17, 2020
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Structural characterization of fibrous synthetic hydrogels using fluorescence microscopy

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Abstract

The structural features of the matrix surrounding the cells play a crucial role in regulating their behavior. Here, we used fluorescence microscopy and customized analysis algorithms to characterize the architecture of fibrous hydrogel networks. As a model system, we investigated a new class of synthetic biomimetic material, hydrogels prepared from polyisocyanides. Our results show that these synthetic gels present a highly heterogeneous fibrous network, with pores reaching a few micrometers in diameter. By encapsulating HeLa cells in different hydrogels, we show that a more porous structure is linked to a higher proliferation rate. The approach described here, for the characterization of the network of fibrous hydrogels, can be easily applied to other polymer-based materials and provide new insights into the influence of structural features in cell behavior. This knowledge is crucial to develop the next generation of biomimetic materials for 3D cell models and tissue engineering applications.

Graphical abstract: Structural characterization of fibrous synthetic hydrogels using fluorescence microscopy

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Sep 2019
Accepted
15 Mar 2020
First published
15 Apr 2020

This article is Open Access

Soft Matter, 2020,16, 4210-4219
Article type
Paper

Structural characterization of fibrous synthetic hydrogels using fluorescence microscopy

J. Vandaele, B. Louis, K. Liu, R. Camacho, P. H. J. Kouwer and S. Rocha, Soft Matter, 2020, 16, 4210
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01828J

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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