Mechanically robust hybrid hydrogels of photo-crosslinkable gelatin and laminin-mimetic peptide amphiphiles for neural induction

Isik M., Eylem C. C., Haciefendioglu T., YILDIRIM E., Sari B., NEMUTLU E., ...More

BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE, vol.9, pp.8270-8284, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1039/d1bm01350e
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Compendex, EMBASE, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Metadex
  • Page Numbers: pp.8270-8284
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Self-assembling bio-instructive materials that can provide a biomimetic tissue microenvironment with the capability to regulate cellular behaviors represent an attractive platform in regenerative medicine. Herein, we develop a hybrid neuro-instructive hydrogel that combines the properties of a photo-crosslinkable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) and self-assembling peptide amphiphiles (PAs) bearing a laminin-derived neuro-inductive epitope (PA-GSR). Electrostatic interaction and ultraviolet light crosslinking mechanisms were combined to create dual-crosslinked hybrid hydrogels with tunable stiffness. Spectroscopic, microscopic and theoretical techniques show that the cationic PA-GSR(+) electrostatically co-assembles with the negatively charged GelMA to create weak hydrogels with hierarchically ordered microstructures, which were further photo-crosslinked to create mechanically robust hydrogels. Dynamic oscillatory rheology and micromechanical testing show that photo-crosslinking of the co-assembled GelMA and PA-GSR(+) hydrogel results in robust hydrogels displaying improved stiffness. Gene expression analysis was used to show that GelMA/PA-GSR(+) hydrogels can induce human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) into neural-lineage cells and supports neural-lineage specification of neuroblast-like cells (SH-SY5Y) in a growth-factor-free manner. Also, metabolomics analysis suggests that the hydrogel alters the metabolite profiles in the cells by affecting multiple molecular pathways. This work highlights a new approach for the design of PA-based hybrid hydrogels with robust mechanical properties and biological functionalities for nerve tissue regeneration.