Abstract

Extensive efforts have been made to understand the effects of extracellular microenvironments on phenotypic activities for a wide array of stem, progenitor, and precursor cells. Hydrogels have emerged as invaluable platforms for examining the effects of extracellular matrix (ECM) properties on cell activities because of their several advantageous features. Specifically, hydrogels are unique materials that enable cell studies in three-dimensional (3D) environments, similar to in vivo environments. Recently, there have been increasing efforts to assemble cell-encapsulating hydrogels; however, hydrogel design strategies for 3D cell cultures have not been systematically discussed to date. Therefore, this review article summarizes current hydrogel designs for 3D cell culture studies and further discusses current challenges and potential resolutions for enhancing the controllability of hydrogel properties and microstructures. The hydrogels discussed herein include those of natural polymers (e.g., collagen, fibrinogen, alginate, and hyaluronic acids), synthetic polymers [e.g., poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and its derivatives], and mixtures of natural and synthetic polymers. We envision that hydrogels that enable 3D studies will greatly assist in the understanding of emergent cell behaviors, and ultimately become important biomedical tools for enhancing the quality of in vitro drug screening and clinical treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-365
Number of pages15
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

Fingerprint

Hydrogels
Hydrogel
Polymers
Cell culture
Polyethylene glycols
Cell Culture Techniques
Natural polymers
Preclinical Drug Evaluations
Ethylene Glycol
Hyaluronic Acid
Controllability
Fibrinogen
Extracellular Matrix
Screening
Collagen
Stem Cells
Derivatives
Microstructure
Pharmaceutical Preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Hydrogels for in vivo-like three-dimensional cellular studies. / Devolder, Ross; Kong, Hyun Joon.

In: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine, Vol. 4, No. 4, 01.07.2012, p. 351-365.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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