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Biomaterials designed to mimic the intricate native extracellular matrix (ECM) can use a variety of techniques to control the behavior of encapsulated cells. Common methods include controlling the mechanical properties of the material, incorporating bioactive signals, spatially patterning bioactive signals, and controlling the time-release of bioactive signals. Further design parameters like bioactive signal distribution can be used to manipulate cell behavior. Efforts on clustering adhesion peptides have focused on seeding cells on top of a biomaterial. Here we report the effect of clustering the adhesion peptide RGD on mouse mesenchymal stem cells encapsulated inside three-dimensional hyaluronic acid hydrogels. The clustered bioactive signals resulted in significant differences in both cell spreading and integrin expression. These results indicate that signal RGD peptide clustering is an additional hydrogel design parameter can be used to influence and guide the behavior of encapsulated cells.

Jonathan Lam, Tatiana Segura

Lam J, Segura T