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Creators/Authors contains: "Benmassaoud, Mohammed Mehdi"

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  1. Abstract

    Recent developments in digital light processing (DLP) can advance the structural and biochemical complexity of perfusablein vitromodels of the blood–brain barrier. Here, we describe a strategy to functionalize complex, DLP-printed vascular models with multiple peptide motifs in a single hydrogel. Different peptides can be clicked into the walls of distinct topologies, or the peptide motifs lining channel walls can differ from those in the bulk of the hydrogel. The flexibility of this approach is used to both characterize the effects of various bioactive domains on endothelial coverage and tight junction formation, in addition to facilitating astrocyte attachment in the hydrogel surrounding the endothelialized vessel to mimic endothelial–astrocyte interaction. Peptides derived from proteins mediating cell-extracellular matrix (e.g. RGD and IKVAV) and cell–cell (e.g. HAVDI) adhesions are used to mediate endothelial cell attachment and coverage. HAVDI and IKVAV-lined channels exhibit significantly greater endothelialization and increased zonula-occluden-1 (ZO-1) localization to cell–cell junctions of endothelial cells, indicative of tight junction formation. RGD is then used in the bulk hydrogel to create an endothelial–astrocyte co-culture model of the blood–brain barrier that overcomes the limitations of previous platforms incapable of complex topology or tunable bioactive domains. This approach yields an adjustable, biofabricated platform to interrogate the effects of cell-matrix interaction on blood–brain barrier mechanobiology.

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  2. Cells encapsulated in 3D hydrogels exhibit differences in cellular mechanosensing based on their ability to remodel their surrounding hydrogel environment. Although cells in tissue interfaces feature a range of mechanosensitive states, it is challenging to recreate this in 3D biomaterials. Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) encapsulated in methacrylated gelatin (GelMe) hydrogels remodel their local hydrogel environment in a time-dependent manner, with a significant increase in cell volume and nuclear Yes-associated protein (YAP) localization between 3 and 5 days in culture. A finite element analysis model of compression showed spatial differences in hydrogel stress of compressed GelMe hydrogels, and MSC-laden GelMe hydrogels were compressed (0–50%) for 3 days to evaluate the role of spatial differences in hydrogel stress on 3D cellular mechanosensing. MSCs in the edge (high stress) were significantly larger, less round, and had increased nuclear YAP in comparison to MSCs in the center (low stress) of 25% compressed GelMe hydrogels. At 50% compression, GelMe hydrogels were under high stress throughout, and this resulted in a consistent increase in MSC volume and nuclear YAP across the entire hydrogel. To recreate heterogeneous mechanical signals present in tissue interfaces, porous polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds were perfused with an MSC-laden GelMe hydrogel solution. MSCs in different pore diameter (~280–430 μm) constructs showed an increased range in morphology and nuclear YAP with increasing pore size. Hydrogel stress influences MSC mechanosensing, and porous scaffold-hydrogel composites that expose MSCs to diverse mechanical signals are a unique biomaterial for studying and designing tissue interfaces. 
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