Hydrogels are very promising for tissue engineering as they provide scaffolds and a suitable microenvironment to control cell behavior and tissue regeneration. We used a patented method to obtain beads of pullulan/dextran cross-linked with sodium trimetaphosphate (STMP), that were already described for in vivo bone repair. The aim of this study was to provide a comparative analysis of microbeads made of polysaccharides prepared using three different STMP feeding ratio of 1.5, 2.25 or 3 % w/w. The morphology, swelling and biodegradability of these structures were assessed. Mesenchymal stem cells were also seeded to evaluate the cell organization onto the beads. We found that the amount of phosphorus resulting from the cross-linking was proportional to the introduced STMP concentration. An increase of cross-linking decreased the in vitro enzymatic degradability, and also decreased the swelling in PBS or water. The microstructures observed by SEM and confocal microscopy indicated that homogeneous spherical microbeads were obtained, except for the lower cross-linking ratio where the shapes were altered. Beads hydrated in PBS exhibited a mean diameter ranging from 400 to 550 µm with the decrease of STMP ratio. Cells adhered to the surface of microbeads even in the absence of protein coating. Cell viability studies revealed an increase in cell numbers over two weeks for the highest cross-linked beads, whereas the two lowest STMP concentrations induced a decrease of cell viability. Overall, this study demonstrated that pullulan/dextran hydrogels can be designed as microbeads with adjustable physicochemical and biological properties to fulfill requirements for tissue engineering approaches.
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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