Adipose Tissue-Derived Stromal Cells Alter the Mechanical Stability and Viscoelastic Properties of Gelatine Methacryloyl Hydrogels

Francisco Drusso Martinez-Garcia*, Martine Margaretha Valk, Prashant Kumar Sharma, Janette Kay Burgess, Martin Conrad Harmsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The extracellular matrix provides mechanical cues to cells within it, not just in terms of stiffness (elasticity) but also time-dependent responses to deformation (viscoelasticity). In this work, we determined the viscoelastic transformation of gelatine methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels caused by adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ASCs) through mathematical modelling. GelMA-ASCs combination is of interest to model stem cell-driven repair and to understand cell-biomaterial interactions in 3D environments. Immortalised human ASCs were embedded in 5%, 10%, and 15% (w/v) GelMA hydrogels and evaluated for 14 d. GelMA had a concentration-dependent increase in stiffness, but cells decreased this stiffness over time, across concentrations. Viscoelastic changes in terms of stress relaxation increased progressively in 5% GelMA, while mathematical Maxwell analysis showed that the relative importance (Ri) of the fastest Maxwell elements increased proportionally. The 10% GelMA only showed differences at 7 d. In contrast, ASCs in 15% GelMA caused slower stress relaxation, increasing the Ri of the slowest Maxwell element. We conclude that GelMA concentration influenced the stiffness and number of Maxwell elements. ASCs changed the percentage stress relaxation and Ri of Maxwell elements transforming hydrogel viscoelasticity into a more fluid environment over time. Overall, 5% GelMA induced the most favourable ASC response.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume22
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21-Sep-2021

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