Design of degradable, anisotropic engineered extracellular matrices to recapitulate the native tendon microenvironment
Univeristy of Oregon
Characterization and Properties
Synthesis and Formulation
Following injury and repair, tendons rarely exhibit full restoration of function and reinjuries are prominent. Limited restoration of function is attributed to fibrotic healing, characterized by disorganized scar tissue that replaces the anisotropic, hierarchical tendon. Prior work has demonstrated that using anisotropic materials as scaffolds to guide cells promotes expression of tenogenic markers and provides a template for cell orientation, showing promise for the use of biomaterials to promote regenerative healing. Here, we will design anisotropic hydrogels as 3D engineered extracellular matrices (eECM) formed via an innovative 2-stage polymerization process that provides anisotropic guidance in balance with hydrogel remodeling to orchestrate native-like tendon deposition. The successful completion of this work will elucidate a design for an eECM with cues that establish a pro-regenerative environment by promoting alignment and suppressing fibrotic characteristics of tenocytes, providing a platform for translation of eECM to be used as effective 3D scaffolds in tendon repair.