Innovative biomaterial-based concepts are required to improve wound healing of damaged vascularized tissues especially in elderly multimorbid patients. To develop functional hydrogels as 3D cellular microenvironments and as carrier or scavenging systems, e.g., for mediator proteins or proinflammatory factors, collagen fibrils are embedded into a network of photo-crosslinked acrylated hyaluronan (HA), chondroitin sulfate (CS), or sulfated HA (sHA). After lyophilization, the gels show a porous structure and an improved stability against degradation via hyaluronidase. Gels with CS and sHA bind significantly more lysozyme than HA/collagen gels and retard its release. The proliferation and metabolic activity of endothelial cells are significantly increased on sHA gels compared to CS- or only HA-containing hydrogels. These findings highlight the potential of HA/collagen hydrogels with sulfated glycosaminoglycans to tune the protein binding and release behavior and to directly modulate cellular response. This can be easily translated into biomimetic biomaterials with defined properties to stimulate wound healing.
Keywords: biomimetic materials; endothelial cells; extracellular matrix (ECM); hyaluronan (HA)/sulfated hyaluronan; hydrogel; scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
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