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Acta Biomater. 2013 Nov;9(11):9012-26. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.06.046. Epub 2013 Jul 10.

Preparation and characterization of gelatin/hyaluronic acid cryogels for adipose tissue engineering: in vitro and in vivo studies.

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Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan, ROC.


Macroporous elastic scaffolds containing gelatin (4% or 10%) and 0.25% hyaluronic acid (HA) were fabricated by cryogelation for application in adipose tissue engineering. These cryogels have interconnected pores (∼200 μm), high porosity (>90%) and a high degree of cross-linking (>99%). The higher gelatin concentration reduced the pore size, porosity and swelling ratio of the cryogel but improved its swelling kinetics. Compressive mechanical testing of cryogel samples demonstrated non-linear stress-strain behavior and hysteresis loops during loading-unloading cycles, but total recovery from large strains. The presence of more gelatin increased the elastic modulus, toughness and storage modulus and yielded a cryogel that was highly elastic, with a loss tangent equal to 0.03. Porcine adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were seeded in the cryogel scaffolds to assess their proliferation and differentiation. In vitro studies demonstrated a good proliferation rate and the adipogenic differentiation of the ADSCs in the cryogel scaffolds, as shown by their morphological change from a fibroblast-like shape to a spherical shape, decreased actin cytoskeleton content, growth arrest, secretion of the adipogenesis marker protein leptin, Oil Red O staining for triglycerides and expression of early (LPL and PPARγ) and late (aP2 and leptin) adipogenic marker genes. In vivo studies of ADSCs/cryogel constructs implanted in nude mice and pigs demonstrated adipose tissue and new capillary formation, the expression of PPARγ, leptin and CD31 in immunostained explants, and the continued expression of adipocyte-specific genes. Both the in vitro and in vivo studies indicated that the gelatin/HA cryogel provided a structural and chemical environment that enabled cell attachment and proliferation and supported the biological functions and adipogenesis of the ADSCs.


Adipose tissue engineering; Adipose-derived stem cells; Cryogel; Gelatin; Hyaluronic acid

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