by Keyword: Microfibers

Costa, Rui R, Caballero, David, Soares da Costa, Diana, Rodriguez-Trujillo, Romen, Kundu, Subhas C, Reis, Rui L, Pashkuleva, Iva, (2023). Microfluidic-Assisted Interfacial Complexation of Extracellular Matrix Components to Mimic the Properties of Neural Tissues Advanced Materials Technologies 8, 2300983

Anisotropy is an important cue for neural organization during morphogenesis and healing, contributing to the mechanical and functional properties of neural tissues. The ability to replicate such anisotropy in vitro holds great promise for the development of effective regeneration strategies. In this work, interfacial polyelectrolyte complexation (IPC) is applied to fabricate microfibers from charged ECM components without any chemical modification. Using flow-focusing microfluidics, collagen (Col) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as chondroitin sulfate (CS) or heparin (Hep), form Col/CS and Col/Hep interfacial complexes that coalesce as IPC microfibers. These fibers are flexible and absorb large amounts of water but remain stable under physiological conditions. At these conditions, the tensile strength of the assembled Col/GAG microfibers is similar to the strength of the neural tissue. The fibers are biocompatible and biofunctional; PC12 neural cells adhere and orient longitudinally to the fibers. Moreover, Col/CS microfibers promote the formation of neural processes. The results demonstrate that the microfluidic-assisted IPC complexation enables the assembly of ECM mimics by synergetic integration of anisotropic, chemical, and mechanical cues that boost the development of neural cells.

JTD Keywords: Cells, Chondroitin sulfate, Collagen, Fibers, Glycosaminoglycans, Heparin, Microfibers