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Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 23;6:6639. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7639.

Protease-degradable electrospun fibrous hydrogels.

Author information

1
1] Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 200 LRSM, 3231 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA [2] Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 240 Skirkanich Hall, 210 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 240 Skirkanich Hall, 210 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

Abstract

Electrospun nanofibres are promising in biomedical applications to replicate features of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM). However, nearly all electrospun scaffolds are either non-degradable or degrade hydrolytically, whereas natural ECM degrades proteolytically, often through matrix metalloproteinases. Here we synthesize reactive macromers that contain protease-cleavable and fluorescent peptides and are able to form both isotropic hydrogels and electrospun fibrous hydrogels through a photoinitiated polymerization. These biomimetic scaffolds are susceptible to protease-mediated cleavage in vitro in a protease dose-dependent manner and in vivo in a subcutaneous mouse model using transdermal fluorescent imaging to monitor degradation. Importantly, materials containing an alternate and non-protease-cleavable peptide sequence are stable in both in vitro and in vivo settings. To illustrate the specificity in degradation, scaffolds with mixed fibre populations support selective fibre degradation based on individual fibre degradability. Overall, this represents a novel biomimetic approach to generate protease-sensitive fibrous scaffolds for biomedical applications.

PMID:
25799370
PMCID:
PMC4372144
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms7639
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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