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An Active and Soft Hydrogel Actuator to Stimulate Live Cell Clusters by Self-folding

Abstract

The hydrogels are widely used in various applications, and their successful uses depend on controlling the mechanical properties. In this study, we present an advanced strategy to develop hydrogel actuator designed to stimulate live cell clusters by self-folding. The hydrogel actuator consisting of two layers with different expansion ratios were fabricated to have various curvatures in self-folding. The expansion ratio of the hydrogel tuned with the molecular weight and concentration of gel-forming polymers, and temperature-sensitive molecules in a controlled manner. As a result, the hydrogel actuator could stimulate live cell clusters by compression and tension repeatedly, in response to temperature. The cell clusters were compressed in the 0.7-fold decreases of the radius of curvature with 1.0 mm in room temperature, as compared to that of 1.4 mm in 37 degrees C. Interestingly, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2) in MCF-7 tumor cells exposed by mechanical stimulation was expressed more than in those without stimulation. Overall, this new strategy to prepare the active and soft hydrogel actuator would be actively used in tissue engineering, drug delivery, and micro-scale actuators

Similar works

This paper was published in ScholarWorks@UNIST.

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