Cell adhesion on an artificial extracellular matrix using aptamer-functionalized PEG hydrogels

Niancao Chen, Zhaoyang Zhang, Boonchoy Soontornworajit, Jing Zhou, Yong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The development of an artificial extracellular matrix (ECM) is important to regenerative medicine because the ECM plays complex and dynamic roles in the regulation of cell behavior. In this study, nucleic acid aptamers were applied to functionalize hydrogels for mimicking the adhesion sites of the ECM. The results showed that nucleic acid aptamers could be incorporated into polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels via free radical polymerization. The incorporation of the aptamers produced only a moderate effect on the mechanical properties of the PEG hydrogels. Importantly, the results also showed that the aptamers effectively induced cell type-specific adhesion to the PEG hydrogels without affecting cell viability. The cell adhesion was a function of the aptamer concentration, the spacer length and the cell seeding time. In addition, cell adhesion to the aptamer-functionalized hydrogel could be attenuated by means of aptamer inactivation in a physiological condition. Thus, aptamer-functionalized hydrogels are promising biomaterials for the development of artificial ECMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1362
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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