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ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2015 Jun 8;1(6):431-439. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

Functionalized α-Helical Peptide Hydrogels for Neural Tissue Engineering.

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School of Chemistry, University of Bristol , Bristol BS8 1TS, United Kingdom.
School of Dentistry, Cardiff University , Cardiff CF10 3XQ, United Kingdom.
Medical School, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4PS, United Kingdom.
University College London Ear Institute , London WC1X 8DA, United Kingdom.
School of Chemistry, University of Bristol , Bristol BS8 1TS, United Kingdom ; School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol , Bristol BS8 1TD, United Kingdom ; BrisSynBio, University of Bristol , Bristol BS8 1TQ, United Kingdom.


Trauma to the central and peripheral nervous systems often lead to serious morbidity. Current surgical methods for repairing or replacing such damage have limitations. Tissue engineering offers a potential alternative. Here we show that functionalized α-helical-peptide hydrogels can be used to induce attachment, migration, proliferation and differentiation of murine embryonic neural stem cells (NSCs). Specifically, compared with undecorated gels, those functionalized with Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) peptides increase the proliferative activity of NSCs; promote their directional migration; induce differentiation, with increased expression of microtubule-associated protein-2, and a low expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein; and lead to the formation of larger neurospheres. Electrophysiological measurements from NSCs grown in RGDS-decorated gels indicate developmental progress toward mature neuron-like behavior. Our data indicate that these functional peptide hydrogels may go some way toward overcoming the limitations of current approaches to nerve-tissue repair.


RGD peptide; hydrogel; nerve tissue engineering; peptide; self-assembly; stem cell

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