3D Hydrogels

Cells in their natural environment are surrounded by a complex network of extracellular molecules called Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM). This network provides structure and function, in the form of biochemical interactions, to the surrounding cells. Because of limitations raised by classical 2D cell culture technique, where this environment is missing (or widely reduced), different approaches have been developed to tempt to mimic this extracellular environment. The most widely used one is hydrogels.

Hydrogels can be defined as water-swollen networks of polymers. The first generation of hydrogels used for 3D cell culture was generated by doing an extraction of ECM polymers from Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) murine sarcoma cell basal membranes. New generations of synthetic, hybrid or peptides-based materials have been developed since to meet specific requirements and to allow to choose the best option for each cells and applications.

Natural Hydrogels
Biomimetic Hydrogels
Synthetic Hydrogels

Natural Hydrogels

ECM gels: The most widely used hydrogel generation extracted from EHS murine sarcoma cell basal membranes that provide a very rich environment, highly compatible with cell development. The major components are laminin, type IV collagen, protéoglycan héparan-sulfate and entactin. This hydrogel polymerise by thermic activation between 20 and 40°C and the gelification process is reversible. (protein concentration: 8-12 mg / ml)

New: Cultrex® 3-D Culture tools: The new generation of 3D validated soluble basement membrane extract offer additional qualities validation level to meet some experimental needs. For spheroids, like cancer tumours, studies  purposes, the needs of adapted techniques has lead to development of specific tools like invasion assays or proliferation/viability assays, now available in the Cultrex portfolio.

MaxGel Human ECM: MaxGel human ECM is a human-based alternative to the 2 previous products. It is produced by in vitro co-culture of human fibroblasts and human epithelial cells followed by basement membrane components extraction. Like ECM gels or Cultrex gels, it contains extracellular matrix components including collagens, laminin, fibronectin, tenascin, elastin, a number of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans. The cell-cultured derived ECM effectively reproduces the cooperative interaction of epithelia and mesenchyme during development and in organotypic cell culture of skin.

Biomimetic Hydrogels

Hystem®: The HyStem platform is based on chemically synthesized hyaluronic acid, one major ECM component. Depending on the cell you are studying you can chose in the platform the best suited formulation: Hyaluronic acid alone (with crosslinker), or including collagen (GelinS) with or without Heparan Sulfate. Because it is a not a biological extract, it provide a better control of the composition of cells’ environment: control over growth factor incorporation, attachment factor incorporation, ECM protein incorporation, rigidity of the hydrogel. HyStem kits are optimal for culturing stem cells whose natural environments are rich in hyaluronic acid.

   HyStem Cell Culture

Synthetic Hydrogels

HydroMatrix Peptide Hydrogel: with his synthetic peptide nanofiber scaffold, HydroMatrix offers the precision and control of a synthesized matrix with the natural three-dimensional architecture of highly crosslinked peptide hydrogel. The HydroMatrix scaffold self-assembles from fluid precursors into a highly cross-linked peptide 3-dimensional hydrogel in response to changes in temperature or ionic strength.

By adjusting the concentration of the HydroMatrix solution, flexibility of the 3-D architecture can be controled. HydroMatrix promotes cell growth and migration and has been shown to support the proliferation of many cell types, including neural stem cells, neurons, glia, astrocytes, fibroblasts, and keratinocytes.

Materials

     
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