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Adv Mater. 2017 Nov;29(42). doi: 10.1002/adma.201703489. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Solvent-Assisted Micromolding of Biohybrid Hydrogels to Maintain Human Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells Ex Vivo.

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Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
Institute of Biochemistry, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.


Array-format cell-culture carriers providing tunable matrix cues are instrumental in current cell biology and bioengineering. A new solvent-assisted demolding approach for the fabrication of microcavity arrays with very small feature sizes down to single-cell level (3 µm) of very soft biohybrid glycosaminoglycan-poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels (down to a shear modulus of 1 kPa) is reported. It is further shown that independent additional options of localized conjugation of adhesion ligand peptides, presentation of growth factors through complexation to gel-based glycosaminoglycans, and secondary gel deposition for 3D cell embedding enable a versatile customization of the hydrogel microcavity arrays for cell culture studies. As a proof of concept, cell-instructive hydrogel compartment arrays are used to analyze the response of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to defined biomolecular and spatial cues.


biohybrids; hematopoietic stem cells; hydrogels; microcavities; micromolding


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