A modular and supramolecular approach to bioactive scaffolds for tissue engineering

Nat Mater. 2005 Jul;4(7):568-74. doi: 10.1038/nmat1418. Epub 2005 Jun 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Fibronectins / chemistry
  • Fibronectins / pharmacology*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Pyrimidinones / analysis
  • Pyrimidinones / chemistry*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Fibronectins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Oligopeptides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Pyrimidinones
  • prolyl-histidyl-seryl-arginyl-asparagine
  • glycyl-arginyl-glycyl-aspartyl-serine