Fabrication of poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel micropatterns with osteoinductive growth factors and evaluation of the effects on osteoblast activity and function

Biomed Mater. 2006 Sep;1(3):144-54. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/1/3/009. Epub 2006 Jul 25.


The aims of this study were to fabricate poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel micropatterns on a biomaterial surface to guide osteoblast behaviour and to study how incorporating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) within the adhered hydrogel influenced cell morphology. Standard photolithographic procedures or photopolymerization through a poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) mould were used to fabricate patterned PEG hydrogels on the surface of silanized silicon wafers. Hydrogel patterns were evaluated by light microscopy and surface profilometry. Rat osteoblasts were cultured on these surfaces and cell morphology investigated by fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Release of protein trapped in the polymerized PEG was evaluated and VEGF-PEG surfaces were characterized for their ability to support cell growth. These studies show that photopolymerized PEG can be used to create anti-adhesive structures on the surface of silicon that completely control where cell interaction with the substrate takes place. Using conventional lithography, structures down to 50 microm were routinely fabricated with the boundaries exhibiting sloping sides. Using the PDMS mould approach, structures were fabricated as small as 10 microm and boundaries were very sharp and vertical. Osteoblasts exhibiting typical morphology only grew on the silicon wafer surface that was not coated with PEG. Adding BSA to the monomer solution showed that protein could be released from the hydrogel for up to 7 days in vitro. Incorporating VEGF in the hydrogel produced micropatterns that dramatically altered osteoblast behaviour. At boundaries with the VEGF-PEG hydrogel, there was striking formation of cellular processes and membrane ruffling indicative of a change in cell morphology. This study has explored the morphogenetic properties of VEGF and the applications of nano/microfabrication techniques for guided tissue (bone) regeneration in dental and orthopaedic applications using osteoinductive PEG hydrogel micropatterns.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Enlargement / drug effects
  • Cell Size / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects
  • Osteoblasts / physiology*
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Osteogenesis / physiology*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / administration & dosage*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Drug Carriers
  • Hydrogels
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • vascular endothelial growth factor A, rat
  • Polyethylene Glycols