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Pluronic F-127 hydrogel as a promising scaffold for encapsulation of dental-derived mesenchymal stem cells


Dental-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide an advantageous therapeutic option for tissue engineering due to their high accessibility and bioavailability. However, delivering MSCs to defect sites while maintaining a high MSC survival rate is still a critical challenge in MSC-mediated tissue regeneration. Here, we tested the osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation capacity of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) in a thermoreversible Pluronic F127 hydrogel scaffold encapsulation system in vitro. DPSCs were encapsulated in Pluronic (®) F-127 hydrogel and stem cell viability, proliferation and differentiation into adipogenic and osteogenic tissues were evaluated. The degradation profile and swelling kinetics of the hydrogel were also analyzed. Our results confirmed that Pluronic F-127 is a promising and non-toxic scaffold for encapsulation of DPSCs as well as control human bone marrow MSCs (hBMMSCs), yielding high stem cell viability and proliferation. Moreover, after 2 weeks of differentiation in vitro, DPSCs as well as hBMMSCs exhibited high levels of mRNA expression for osteogenic and adipogenic gene markers via PCR analysis. Our histochemical staining further confirmed the ability of Pluronic F-127 to direct the differentiation of these stem cells into osteogenic and adipogenic tissues. Furthermore, our results revealed that Pluronic F-127 has a dense tubular and reticular network morphology, which contributes to its high permeability and solubility, consistent with its high degradability in the tested conditions. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that Pluronic F-127 is a promising scaffold for encapsulation of DPSCs and can be considered for cell delivery purposes in tissue engineering.

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