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Create 3D Cell Culture models with tuneable stiffness

ECM Stiffness Matters 

All cells in the human body are exposed to mechanical forces which regulate cell function and tissue development and each cell type is is specifically tuned to the mechanical properties of the tissue it resides in. Neuronal cells, for example, require a very soft matrix similar to brain tissue in order to thrive, while cartilage or bone cells require much stiffer environments. 

Cells are tuned to the material properties of their native matrix

Cells are tuned to the material properties of their native matrix.

The LunaCrosslinker™ enables cell-friendly photocrosslinking

The LunaCrosslinker™ enables cell-friendly photocrosslinking.

LunaGel™ uses visible light polymerization to create tuneable 3D cell culture models in a matter of minutes
How it works

A chemical modification allows the LunaGel™ ECM to be crosslinked by exposure to blue light in the LunaCrosslinker™, creating cell culture models that closely mimic natural microenvironments. The LunaGel™ hydrogel system is transparent, permeable, and compatible with standard imaging systems. ECM stiffness can be adjusted to by varying the light exposure duration in the Luna Crosslinker™ to replicate physiological conditions of different healthy and diseased tissues.

Step 1: reconstitute and add cells
Step 2: pipette into well plate
Step 3: cure the ECM in lunacrosslinker
Step 4: add media and incubate
Different cells require different stiffness

                            The matrix properties of human tissues can also change with disease and in turn facilitate its progression. For example, normal mammary epithelial cell growth, survival, differentiation and morphogenesis are well-supported by interaction with a soft matrix similar to normal breast tissue stiffness. Following transformation during breast cancer, however, the tissue becomes progressively stiffer and tumour cells become significantly more contractile and hyper-responsive to matrix mechanical cues, ultimately driving epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis. Evidently, the importance of matrix elasticity is increasingly being studied and ECM stiffness has been shown to regulate stem cell differentiation, cell migration, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), the induction of malignant cancer phenotypes, cell spreading and adhesion, calcium signalling, and many more pathophysiological and physiological cellular events.

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Let's turn on the light!


LunaGel™ photocrosslinkable extracellular matrices offer unprecedented control over matrix stiffness covering a substantially larger range than any of the competitor products on the market. LunaGel™ employs a cell-friendly, rapid photocrosslinking process, allowing researchers to fine-tune the elastic modulus within just a few minutes of visible light exposure. Competitor products such as basement membrane extracts or collagen rely on lengthy thermal gelation for curing (30 – 60 min) and produce matrices with elastic modulus limited to < 1 kPa which are unphysiological for most common cell types


Matrix Stiffness

has never been easier

The LunaCrosslinker

facilitates cell-friendly


Low stiffness, crosslinking time
high stiffness, crosslinking time
LunaGel - Bovine Bone Gelatin
High Stiffness Kit
LunaGel - Bovine Bone Gelatin

The mechanical properties of LunaGel™ Photocrosslinkable Extracellular Matrices are controlled by exposure to visible light in the LunaCrosslinker™

LunaGel™ - Gelatin ECMs are available in standard and high stiffness formulations. Standard gel stiffness typically ranges from 0.1 - 6 kPa, while high stiffness kits can reach up to 25 kPa. Stiffness increases with exposure duration.

MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells cultured in LunaGel Photocrosslinkable Gelatin at different Matrix Stiffness

MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells cultured in LunaGel Photocrosslinkable Gelatin at different Matrix Stiffness

The images show the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer spheroids over a period of 14 days at 0.5, 2, and 4 kPa matrix stiffness (a). Quantification of spheroid size reveals that proliferation and spheroid growth was inversely proportional to matrix stiffness (b). 

MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells cultured in LunaGel Photocrosslinkable Gelatin at different Matrix Stiffness

Primary Human Bone-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs) cultured for 5 days in LunaGel Photocrosslinkable Gelatin (High Stiffness) at different Matrix Stiffness

The images demonstrate the matrix stiffness is a potent regulator of cellular morphology. Primary human MSCs elongate and spread at low matrix stiffness, but remain rounded at high stiffness.

Interested to see more example applications?
Click on the images below
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