A self-assembled peptide hydrogel for cytokine sequestration†
Cytokine-directed monocyte infiltration is involved in multiple pathological processes. Immuno-isolating matrices that can sequester cell-released chemokines in a microenvironment may prolong the viability and functionality of implanted materials. We describe a self-assembling peptide-based hydrogel that can capture the cytokine CCL2 released in the extracellular space by immune cells and stromal cells. The shear-responsive matrix can absorb and retain this signaling molecule needed for the chemotaxis of the infiltrating monocytes and their differentiation into phagocytic macrophages. Such cytokine-sequestering biomaterials may be useful as adjunctive materials with the delivery of exogenous implants or cell suspensions for tissue regeneration, without the administration of systemic immunosuppressants. Our work highlights the versatility of nanofibrous peptide hydrogels for modulating the biological response in tissue niches.