PEG–Anthracene Hydrogels as an On‐Demand Stiffening Matrix To Study Mechanobiology Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractThere is a growing interest in materials that can dynamically change their properties in the presence of cells to study mechanobiology. Herein, we exploit the 365 nm light mediated [4+4] photodimerization of anthracene groups to develop cytocompatible PEG‐based hydrogels with tailorable initial moduli that can be further stiffened. A hydrogel formulation that can stiffen from 10 to 50 kPa, corresponding to the stiffness of a healthy and fibrotic heart, respectively, was prepared. This system was used to monitor the stiffness‐dependent localization of NFAT, a downstream target of intracellular calcium signaling using a reporter in live cardiac fibroblasts (CFbs). NFAT translocates to the nucleus of CFbs on stiffening hydrogels within 6 h, whereas it remains cytoplasmic when the CFbs are cultured on either 10 or 50 kPa static hydrogels. This finding demonstrates how dynamic changes in the mechanical properties of a material can reveal the kinetics of mechanoresponsive cell signaling pathways that may otherwise be missed in cells cultured on static substrates.

publication date

  • July 15, 2019

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • November 7, 2020 9:01 AM

Full Author List

  • Günay KA; Ceccato TL; Silver JS; Bannister KL; Bednarski OJ; Leinwand LA; Anseth KS

author count

  • 7

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0044-8249

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-3757

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 10017

end page

  • 10021


  • 131


  • 29