Biomaterials science

Thermoresponsive microgels containing trehalose as soft matrices for 3D cell culture.

PMID 27921099


A series of thermoresponsive glycomicrogels with trehalose in the cross-links or with trehalose in the cross-links and as pending moieties was synthesized. These materials were obtained by surfactant-free precipitation copolymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide and various amounts of trehalose monomers. The resultant particles showed a spherical shape and a submicrometer hydrodynamic size with a narrow size distribution. At 25 °C, glycomicrogels in solutions with physiological ionic strength formed stable colloids, which further gelled upon heating to physiological temperature forming a macroscopic hydrogel with an interconnected porous structure. These extremely soft matrices with dynamic storage modulus in the range of 9-70 Pa were examined in 3D culture systems for HeLa cell culture in comparison to traditional 2D mode. They showed relatively low syneresis over time, especially when glycomicrogels with a high content of hydrophilic trehalose were used as building blocks. An incorporated pending trehalose composed of two α,α'-1,1'-linked d-glucose moieties was used with the intention of providing multivalent interactions with glucose transporters (GLUTs) expressed on the cell surface. A better cell viability was observed when a soft hydrogel with the highest content of trehalose and the lowest syneresis was used as a matrix compared to a 2D control assay.

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