Bioinspired glycosaminoglycan hydrogels via click chemistry for 3D dynamic cell encapsulation

Liangju Kuang, Nur P. Damayanti, Chunhui Jiang, Xing Fei, Wenjie Liu, Naagarajan Narayanan, Joseph Irudayaraj, Osvaldo Campanella, Meng Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell encapsulation within 3D hydrogels is an attractive approach to develop effective cell-based therapies. However, little is known about how cells respond to the dynamic microenvironment resulting from hydrogel gelation-based cell encapsulation. Here, a tunable biomimetic hydrogel system that possesses alterable gelation kinetics and biologically relevant matrix stiffness is developed to study 3D dynamic cellular responses during encapsulation. Hydrogels are synthesized by crosslinking thiolated hyaluronic acid and thiolated chondroitin sulfate with poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate under cell-compatible conditions. Hydrogel properties are tailored by altering thiol substitution degrees of glycosaminoglycans or molecular weights of crosslinkers. Encapsulation of human mesenchymal stem cells through hydrogel gelation reveals high cell viability as well as a three-stage gelation-dependent cellular response in real-time focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation in live single cells. Furthermore, stiffer hydrogels result in higher equilibrium FAK activity and enhanced actin protrusions. Our results demonstrate the promise of hydrogel-mediated cellular responses during cell encapsulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47212
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 5 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cell encapsulation
  • focal adhesion kinase
  • glycosaminoglycans
  • human mesenchymal stem cells
  • hydrogels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioinspired glycosaminoglycan hydrogels via click chemistry for 3D dynamic cell encapsulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this