Chimeric Aptamer-Gelatin Hydrogels as an Extracellular Matrix Mimic for Loading Cells and Growth Factors

Xiaolong Zhang, Mark R. Battig, Niancao Chen, Erin R. Gaddes, Katelyn L. Duncan, Yong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


It is important to synthesize materials to recapitulate critical functions of biological systems for a variety of applications such as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The purpose of this study was to synthesize a chimeric hydrogel as a promising extracellular matrix (ECM) mimic using gelatin, a nucleic acid aptamer, and polyethylene glycol. This hydrogel had a macroporous structure that was highly permeable for fast molecular transport. Despite its high permeability, it could strongly sequester and sustainably release growth factors with high bioactivity. Notably, growth factors retained in the hydrogel could maintain ∼50% bioactivity during a 14-day release test. It also provided cells with effective binding sites, which led to high efficiency of cell loading into the macroporous hydrogel matrix. When cells and growth factors were coloaded into the chimeric hydrogel, living cells could still be observed by day 14 in a static serum-reduced culture condition. Thus, this chimeric aptamer-gelatin hydrogel constitutes a promising biomolecular ECM mimic for loading cells and growth factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-787
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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