A modular and supramolecular approach to bioactive scaffolds for tissue engineering

P.Y.W. Dankers, M.C. Harmsen, L.A. Brouwer, M.J.A. Luyn, van, E.W. Meijer

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375 Citations (Scopus)
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Bioactive polymeric scaffolds are a prerequisite for the ultimate formation of functional tissues. Here, we show that supramolecular polymers based on quadruple hydrogen bonding ureido-pyrimidinone (UPy) moieties are eminently suitable for producing such bioactive materials owing to their low-temperature processability, favourable degradation and biocompatible behaviour. Particularly, the reversible nature of the hydrogen bonds allows for a modular approach to gaining control over cellular behaviour and activity both in vitro and in vivo. Bioactive materials are obtained by simply mixing UPy-functionalized polymers with UPy-modified biomolecules. Low-molecular-weight bis-UPy-oligocaprolactones with cell adhesion promoting UPy-Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (UPy-GRGDS) and the synergistic UPy-Pro-His-Ser-Arg-Asn (UPy-PHSRN) peptide sequences are synthesized and studied. The in vitro results indicate strong and specific cell binding of fibroblasts to the UPy-functionalized bioactive materials containing both UPy-peptides. An even more striking effect is seen in vivo where the formation of single giant cells at the interface between bioactive material and tissue is triggered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-574
JournalNature Materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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