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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 14, 2020

Interpenetrating polymer network hydrogels as bioactive scaffolds for tissue engineering

Cody O. Crosby ORCID logo, Brett Stern ORCID logo, Nikhith Kalkunte ORCID logo, Shahar Pedahzur ORCID logo, Shreya Ramesh ORCID logo and Janet Zoldan ORCID logo

Abstract

Tissue engineering, after decades of exciting progress and monumental breakthroughs, has yet to make a significant impact on patient health. It has become apparent that a dearth of biomaterial scaffolds which possess the material properties of human tissue while remaining bioactive and cytocompatible, has been partly responsible for this lack of clinical translation. Herein, we propose the development of interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogels as materials that can provide cells with an adhesive extracellular matrix-like 3D microenvironment while possessing the mechanical integrity to withstand physiological forces. These hydrogels can be synthesized from biologically derived or synthetic polymers, the former polymer offering preservation of adhesion, degradability, and microstructure and the latter polymer offering tunability and superior mechanical properties. We review critical advances in the enhancement of mechanical strength, substrate-scale stiffness, electrical conductivity, and degradation in IPN hydrogels intended as bioactive scaffolds in the past 5 years. We also highlight the exciting incorporation of IPN hydrogels into state-of-the-art tissue engineering technologies, such as organ-on-a-chip and bioprinting platforms. These materials will be critical in the engineering of functional tissue for transplant, disease modeling and drug screening.


Corresponding author: Janet Zoldan, Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 107 W Dean Keeton St, Austin, TX 78712, USA, E-mail:

Funding source: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Award Identifier / Grant number: EB007507

Funding source: National Institutes of Health

Award Identifier / Grant number: 1R21EB027812EB007507

Funding source: American Heart Association

Award Identifier / Grant number: 15SDG25740035

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge helpful discussions with Alex Hillsley and Dr. Adrianne Rosales of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

  1. Author contribution: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the National Institutes of Health (EB007507 and 1R21EB027812, awarded to C.C. and J.Z., respectively) and the American Heart Association (AHA, 15SDG25740035, awarded to J.Z.).

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.

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Received: 2020-05-26
Accepted: 2020-07-17
Published Online: 2020-09-14
Published in Print: 2022-04-26

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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