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J Vis Exp. 2016 Jan 11;(107). doi: 10.3791/53475.

Construction of Modular Hydrogel Sheets for Micropatterned Macro-scaled 3D Cellular Architecture.

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Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST);


Hydrogels can be patterned at the micro-scale using microfluidic or micropatterning technologies to provide an in vivo-like three-dimensional (3D) tissue geometry. The resulting 3D hydrogel-based cellular constructs have been introduced as an alternative to animal experiments for advanced biological studies, pharmacological assays and organ transplant applications. Although hydrogel-based particles and fibers can be easily fabricated, it is difficult to manipulate them for tissue reconstruction. In this video, we describe a fabrication method for micropatterned alginate hydrogel sheets, together with their assembly to form a macro-scale 3D cell culture system with a controlled cellular microenvironment. Using a mist form of the calcium gelling agent, thin hydrogel sheets are easily generated with a thickness in the range of 100 - 200 ┬Ám, and with precise micropatterns. Cells can then be cultured with the geometric guidance of the hydrogel sheets in freestanding conditions. Furthermore, the hydrogel sheets can be readily manipulated using a micropipette with an end-cut tip, and can be assembled into multi-layered structures by stacking them using a patterned polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) frame. These modular hydrogel sheets, which can be fabricated using a facile process, have potential applications of in vitro drug assays and biological studies, including functional studies of micro- and macrostructure and tissue reconstruction.

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