Optimization of Particle-based Hydrogel Biophysical and Biochemical Properties for Biomedical Applications
Microporous Annealed Particle (MAP) biomaterials provide a solid, 3-D matrix with interconnected microporous networks that facilitate cellular growth and network formation both in vitro and in vivo. Lattices of MAP gel building blocks are annealed to one another via surface functionalities to form an interconnected microporous scaffold either with or without cells present in the interconnected pores. These microgels are now being explored for various biomedical applications, including accelerated wound healing in vivo and drug delivery. Overall, their injectability, modular design, and porosity make them superior to conventional bulk hydrogels.
The potential of the MAP gel platform is not limited to previous applications in wound healing and cell delivery and new applications will require fine-tuning of physical and biochemical properties of the building blocks. Unfortunately, a minimal amount of research has been conducted on how the biophysical, such as stiffness, and biochemical properties of MAP gels affects the cellular response. We hypothesized that optimized MAP gel platforms would be ideal for vaccines, primary neural cell culture 3D models, and spinal cord injury treatments and tested multiple formulations of MAP gels to modulate different biophysical and biochemical properties (such as stiffness or loading with bioactive cues) to achieve superior performance addressing the vast biomedical application landscape.
Here we reported multiple new applications of the MAP gel platform; 1) MAP gel for translational primary peripheral sensory neuron culture model for investigation of mechanism for neuromodulation-based diabetes treatment, 2) MAP gel for delivery of antigen and modulation of local immune cells by changing the biophysical properties to enhance strong humoral immunity and 3) Hyaluronic acid-based MAP gels for anti-inflammatory effects to treat spinal cord injury. Also, we project the future direction of our on-going projects to get better insight of mechanism of MAP gel function in wound healing and to establish better formulations for human clinical applications.