Neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) are the stem cell of the adult central nervous system (CNS). These cells are able to differentiate into the major cell types found in the CNS (neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes), thus NSPCs are the mechanism by which the adult CNS could potentially regenerate after injury or disorder. Microenviromental factors are critical for guiding NSPC differentiation and are thus important for neural tissue engineering. In this study, D-mannitol crystals were mixed with photocrosslinkable methacrylamide chitosan (MAC) as a porogen to enhance pore size during hydrogel formation. D-mannitol was admixed to MAC at 5, 10 and 20 wt% D-mannitol per total initial hydrogel weight. D-mannitol crystals were observed to dissolve and leave the scaffold within 1 hr. Quantification of resulting average pore sizes showed that D-mannitol addition resulted in larger average pore size (5 wt%, 4060±160 µm2, 10 wt%, 6330±1160 µm2, 20 wt%, 7600±1550 µm2) compared with controls (0 wt%, 3150±220 µm2). Oxygen diffusion studies demonstrated that larger average pore area resulted in enhanced oxygen diffusion through scaffolds. Finally, the differentiation responses of NSPCs to phenotypic differentiation conditions were studied for neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in hydrogels of varied porosity over 14 d. Quantification of total cell numbers at day 7 and 14, showed that cell numbers decreased with increased porosity and over the length of the culture. At day 14 immunohistochemistry quantification for primary cell types demonstrated significant differentiation to the desired cells types, and that total percentages of each cell type was greatest when scaffolds were more porous. These results suggest that larger pore sizes in MAC hydrogels effectively promote NSPC 3D differentiation.
Leipzig, Nic, "3d Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells in Macroporous Photopolymerizable Hydrogel Scaffolds" (2012). Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research. 127.