Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture must consider the changes in components and composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) can cause if it accurately represents the human functionalisation that occurs within our body when subjected to disease and treatments.
Producing chemically defined peptide hydrogels that can be adapted to mechanical and chemical functionality to be fully tuneable to cell needs allows more accurate and reproducible cell culture functionalisation inside. Synthetic Hydrogels are both animal and disease-free and offer reliable and consistent results free from batch to batch variability to better provide for research and development of cell cultures. Animal-derived scaffolds that have been in use for many years have undefined amounts of collagen, fibronectin, and laminin, which cause difficulty and variable results when determining what cells need to survive and which elements interact within the cell culture.
Hydrogels – an essential tool
Synthetic peptide hydrogels such as those developed by Manchester Biogel enable researchers and drug manufacturers the means to develop and test targeted drug therapies. Synthetic peptide hydrogels now provide a cost-effective, easily reproducible mechanical inks and gels scaffold for 2D and 3D cell culture, including tissue regeneration, bioprinting and drug discovery. They are now widely replacing the need to use animal-based scaffolds for cell culture development. They increase accuracy in recreating in vivo functionalisation and the in vitro cell microenvironment to mimic human tissue development better. Charge and stiffness can be independently controlled to better support the extracellular matrix (ECM) within the human tissue environment, allowing them to control study for individual elements on their own. PeptiGel scaffolds support the independent research of collagen, fibronectin and laminin, essential to understanding the effects of the extracellular matrix composition.
Composition of ECM
Multiple matrix proteins within the ECM provide support for cells and tissue. When seeking to replicate in-vivo functionality during in-vitro cell culture, it is beneficial to independently control scaffolds and define them fully to support the functionalities required for each particular cell type. Collagen, in particular, has a significant role in tissue development, providing mechanical strength and having the ability to migrate cells and alter natural cell adhesion. Therefore, the ability to independently identify and study the functionality within the cell culture of each element allows for more accurate and targeted drug development and treatment therapies.
The importance of functionalisation
Collagen – Collagen type 1 can promote cell adhesion and stimulate osteogenic and myogenic differentiation of stem cells. It is often used as a coating on gel scaffolds to promote cell adhesion.
Fibronectin – This element within the ECM is located in the basement membrane and plays an essential role in tissue engineering applications. It is especially critical within the RGD sequence to transform the substrates allowing for cell attachment and ensuring cell adhesion.
Laminin – Three different chains make up the laminin non-structural protein which is extinct in various genetically distinct forms. Again, residing in the ECM basement membrane, they play a vital part in several cell processes, including migration and differentiation via their integrins. They can also induce cell binding and enhance cell adhesion in suitable cell culture conditions.
Specific cell culture functionalisation is essential to ensure that research and development are most effective. Synthetic peptide hydrogels offer the ability above that available from animal-based scaffolds to enable more targeted research conveniently and cost-effectively. Synthetic peptide hydrogels can be explicitly targeted and offer bespoke ready to use chemically defined independent control of biocompatibility, stiffness and charge to replicate the cellular environments of any human tissue more precisely. They give more significant research and development accuracy and more targeted and reproducible test results than previously available for cell culture research.