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Yin, Heyong; Yan, Zexing; Bauer, Richard J.; Peng, Jiang; Schieker, Matthias; Nerlich, Michael; Docheva, Denitsa (2018): Functionalized thermosensitive hydrogel combined with tendon stem/progenitor cells as injectable cell delivery carrier for tendon tissue engineering. In: Biomedical Materials, Vol. 13, No. 3, 34107
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Thermosensitive hydrogels have been studied for potential application as promising alternative cell carriers in cell-based regenerative therapies. In this study, a thermosensitive butane diisocyanate (BDI)-collagen hydrogel (BC hydrogel) was designed as an injectable cell delivery carrier of tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) for tendon tissue engineering. We functionalized the BDI hydrogel with the addition of 20%(v/v) collagen I gel to obtain the thermosensitive BC hydrogel, which was then seeded with TSPCs derived from human Achilles tendons. The BC hydrogel compatibility and TSPC behavior and molecular response to the 3D hydrogel were investigated. Collagen (COL) I gel served as a control group. Our findings demonstrated that the BC hydrogel was thermosensitive, and hardened above 25 degrees C. It supported TSPC survival, proliferation, and metabolic activity with satisfactory dimension stability and biocompatibility, as revealed by gel contraction assay, live/dead staining, DNA quantification, and resazurin metabolic assay. Phalloidin-based visualization of F-actin demonstrated that the TSPCs were stretched within COLI gel with classical spindle cell shapes;similar cell morphologies were also found in the BC hydrogel. The gene expression profile of TSPCs in the BC hydrogel was comparable with that in COLI gel. Moreover, the BC hydrogel supported capillary-like structure formation by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in the hydrogel matrix. Taken together, these results suggest that the thermosensitive BC hydrogel holds great potential as an injectable cell delivery carrier of TSPCs for tendon tissue engineering.