Injectable Hydrogel Based on Gellan Gum/Silk Sericin for Application as a Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cell Carrier

ACS Omega. 2022 Nov 2;7(45):41331-41340. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c05113. eCollection 2022 Nov 15.


The damage to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells can lead to vision loss and permanent blindness. Therefore, an effective therapeutic strategy has emerged to replace damaged cells through RPE cell delivery. In this study, we fabricated injectable gellan gum (GG)/silk sericin (SS) hydrogels as a cell carrier by blending GG and SS. To determine the appropriate concentration of SS for human RPE ARPE-19, 0, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.5% (w/v) of SS solution were blended in 1% (w/v) GG solution (GG/SS 0%, GG/SS 0.05%, GG/SS 0.1%, and GG/SS 0.5%, respectively). The physical and chemical properties were measured through Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, mass swelling, and weight loss. Also, viscosity, injection force, and compressive tests were used to evaluate mechanical characteristics. Cell proliferation and differentiation of ARPE-19 were evaluated using quantitative dsDNA analysis and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The addition of SS gave GG/SS hydrogels a compressive strength similar to that of natural RPE tissue, which may well support the growth of RPE and enhance cell proliferation and differentiation. In particular, the GG/SS 0.5% hydrogel showed the most similar compressive strength (about 10 kPa) and exhibited the highest gene expression related to ARPE-19 cell proliferation. These results indicate that GG/SS 0.5% hydrogels can be a promising biomaterial for cell delivery in retina tissue engineering.