For stem cell differentiation, the microenvironment can play an important role, and hydrogels can provide a three-dimensional microenvironment to allow native cell growth in vitro. A challenge is that the stem cell's differentiation can be influenced by the matrix stiffness. We demonstrate a low-toxicity method to create different stiffness matrices, by using a photopolymerizable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel cross-linked by blue light (440 nm). The stiffness and porosity of GelMA hydrogel is easily modified by altering its concentration. We used human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a cell source and cultured the GelMA-encapsulated cells with EGM-2 medium to induce endothelial differentiation. In our GelMA blue light hydrogel system, we found that MSCs can be differentiated into both endothelial-like and osteogenic-like cells. The mRNA expressions of endothelial cell markers CD31, von Willebrand factor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, and CD34 were significantly increased in softer GelMA hydrogels (7.5% and 10%) compared with stiffer matrices (15% GelMA). On the other hand, the enhancements of osteogenic markers mRNA expressions (Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), Runx2, osteocalcin, and osteopontin) were highest in 10% GelMA. We also found that 10% GelMA hydrogel offered optimal conditions for MSCs to form capillary-like structures. These results suggest that the mechanical properties of the GelMA hydrogel can influence both endothelial and osteogenic differentiation of MSCs and sequent capillary-like formation.
|頁（從 - 到）||2099-2111|
|期刊||Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine|
|出版狀態||已發佈 - 10月 2018|
ASJC Scopus subject areas