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Facile One‐Step Micropatterning Using Photodegradable Gelatin Hydrogels for Improved Cardiomyocyte Organization and Alignment


Hydrogels are often employed as temporary platforms for cell proliferation and tissue organization in vitro. Researchers have incorporated photodegradable moieties into synthetic polymeric hydrogels as a means of achieving spatiotemporal control over material properties. In this study protein-based photodegradable hydrogels composed of methacrylated gelatin (GelMA) and a crosslinker containing o-nitrobenzyl ester groups have been developed. The hydrogels are able to degrade rapidly and specifically in response to UV light and can be photopatterned to a variety of shapes and dimensions in a one-step process. Micropatterned photodegradable hydrogels are shown to improve cell distribution, alignment and beating regularity of cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Overall this work introduces a new class of photodegradable hydrogel based on natural and biofunctional polymers as cell culture substrates for improving cellular organization and function.

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