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Fabrication of Micropatterned Hydrogels for Cell Culture

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Title: Fabrication of Micropatterned Hydrogels for Cell Culture
Author(s): Zhu, Lin
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry
Discipline: Polymer Chemistry
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2016
Hydrogels are promising biomaterials for tissue engineering. Concerning hydrogels chemical structures, the hydrogen bonding towards water makes them hydrophilic compounds. Hydrogels contain 95% ~ 99% water as the swelling agent and have the characteristics of extracellular matrix. Therefore, they are suitable for cell growth and appropriate for forming cell culture. Hydrogels can mimic the cell microenvironments and promote cell differentiation by interactions with cells. Cells can get oxygen, nutrients exchange as well as removal of metabolic waste to live. Hydrogels can be categorized into natural hydrogels, synthetic hydrogels and hybrid hydrogels by sources. Agarose, Collagen and Calcium alginate are the most popular natural hydrogels. Polyethylene (glycol) and its derivative Polyethylene (glycol) Diacrylate (PEGDA) are indispensable synthetic hydrogels. In this thesis, hydrogels are studied for their chemical structure, physical and mechanical properties and gel formation. Typical hydrogels, i.e. agarose, polyethylene (glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA), collagen and calcium alginate, are reviewed for their methodology of formation, mechanical properties and applications. Since hydrogel is a solid containing a given amount of water, it has viscoelasticity. Rheology test mechanism is described for viscoelastic materials. Micropatterning methods of hydrogels are investigated in variety of approaches. How the patterned surfaces affect cell behaviour is discussed in our literature review. From the experimental results, agarose and polyethylene (glycol) diacrylate are successfully fabricated and their micropatterned hydrogels show promising properties. In addition, impact of mechanical properties, such as water diffusion in hydrogels, how temperatures influence hydrogel structures and durability of the structures storage are investigated. Hydrogel viscoelasticities are measured by rheometer. Hydrogels are also tested in chips and cell wells for future cell growth study. Finally, this research has successfully fabricated the 3D micropatterned hydrogels for cell culture.

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