Cell-instructive matrices for regenerative medicine
Cartilage tissue engineering
LunaGel™ ECM has been successfully used for a variety of tissue engineering applications, including skin models, fibrous and articular cartilage, and many more. Below is an example of LunaGel™ ECM (bovine gelatin) for the engineering of articular cartilage tissue using embedded human chondrocytes. LunaGel™ ECM supports high cell viability and supports a chondrogenic phenotype, leading to the accumulation of hyaline cartilage ECM and steadily increasing mechanical strength.
Tissue engineering of articular cartilage with hyaline-like features
(a) Viability staining of human articular chondrocytes in LunaGel™ ECM at day 1 and 28 at culture showing high cell viabilities (b) The Young's modulus of engineered cartilage tissues increases with culture duration and accumulation of functional extracellular matrix by embedded chondrocytes (c) Immunofluorescence staining showing hyaline-like matrix production with high level of Collagen II and Aggrecan, and low level of Collagen I - a marker of mechanically inferior fibrocartilage.
Engineering anisotropic muscle tissue
Myoblasts (C2C12) encapsulated in LunaGel™ form functional myotubes – microscopic muscle fibers that spontaneously start twitching as they mature. In this study, myoblasts suspended in LunaGel™ pre-cursor solutions were first patterned to form lines using standing ultrasound waves, followed by photocrosslinking. This process “locked” the cells in place, allowing them to form into highly aligned muscle fibres that express key markers of skeletal muscle tissue and twitch, just like real muscles.
Engineered ultra-sound patterned muscle tissue in LunaGel™ (Armstrong, et al, Advanced Materials, 2018)
(a) Confocal images of patterned myoblasts stained with Calcein over 7 days of culture. (b) Relative gene expression of skeletal muscle markers MYOG and MRF4 in unpatterned (grey) and patterned (red) tissues. (c) Immunostaining for skeletal muscle markers (red) and cell nuclei (blue) at day 7. (d) Myotube length as a function of orientation angle.