Photo-patterning of porous hydrogels for tissue engineering.
Since pore size and geometry strongly impact cell behavior and in vivo reaction,the ability to create scaffolds with a wide range of pore geometries that can betailored to suit a particular cell type addresses a key need in tissue engineering. In this contribution, we describe a novel and simple technique to design porous, degradable poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel scaffolds with well-defined architectures using a unique photolithography process and optimized polymer chemistry. A sphere-template was used to produce a highly uniform, monodisperse porous structure. To create a patterned and porous hydrogel scaffold, a photomask and initiating light were employed. Open, vertical channels ranging in size from 360+/-25 to 730+/-70 microm were patterned into approximately 700 microm thick hydrogels with pore diameters of 62+/-8 or 147+/-15 microm. Collagen type I was immobilized onto the scaffolds to facilitate cell adhesion. To assess the potential of these novel scaffolds for tissue engineering, a skeletal myoblast cell line (C2C12) was seeded onto scaffolds with 147 microm pores and 730 microm diameter channels, and analyzed by histology anddigital volumetric imaging. Cell elongation, cell spreading and fibrillar formation were observed on these novel scaffolds. In summary, 3D architectures can be patterned into porous hydrogels in one step to create a wide range of tissue engineering scaffolds that may be tailored for specific applications.