A Hydrogel System with Tunable Mechanical Properties to Control Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Differentiation

J. Rouwkema, A. Vishwakarma, A. Khademhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractOther research output


It is well known that the differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can be controlled by adapting the mechanical properties of the matrix in which the cells reside. For this purpose, we have developed a novel photocrosslinkable hydrogel platform consisting of methacrylated gelatin (GelMA) and poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA).

In this study, the concentration of GelMA remained constant at 5% w/v in order to have a constant availability of bioactive sites for cell attachment. The concentration PEGDMA was varied between 0% and 20% w/v, resulting in hydrogels with a compressive modulus ranging between 0.46±0.15 kPa and 291±32 kPa.

Human MSCs were incorporated in the gels and showed good viability. The cells were cultured in basic medium without differentiation factors for up to 7 days. Organization, as well as differentiation of the cells, depended on the mechanical properties of the gels. Soft gels resulted in elaborate organization of the MSCs and upregulation of the neural marker β3-tubulin, while MSCs remained rounded and expressed the osteogenic marker ALP in stiffer gels.

This hydrogel platform offers a photopolymerizable, versatile, and tunable system to control the differentiation of human MSCs in vitro. Future studies will focus on a further elaboration of the differentiation of MSC within these gels, and the use of these gels for complex tissue engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S299-S300
JournalTissue engineering. Part A
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015
EventTERMIS World Congress 2015: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: The Evolution of Regenerative Medicine - Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, United States
Duration: 8 Sept 201511 Sept 2015


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