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In this study, we designed a highly hydrated and cell-adhesive polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based hydrogel that simultaneously provides topographical and electrical stimuli to C2C12 myoblasts. Specifically, PEG hydrogels with microgroove structures of 3 µm-ridges and 3 µm-grooves were prepared by micromolding; in-situ polymerization of poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) was then performed within the micropatterned PEG hydrogels to create a microgrooved PEG-based conductive hydrogel (CH/P). The CH/P had clear replica patterns of the silicone mold and a conductivity of 2×10 S/cm, with greater than 85% water content. In addition, the CH exhibited Young's moduli (45.84 ± 7.12 kPa) similar to that of a muscle tissue.The surface of the CH/P was further modified via covalent bonding with cell-adhesive peptides to facilitate cell adhesion without affecting conductivity. An in vitro cell assay revealed that the CH/P was cytocompatible and enhanced the cell alignment and elongation of C2C12 myoblasts. The microgrooves and conductance of the CH/P had the greatest positive effect on the myogenesis of C2C12 myoblasts compared to the other PEG hydrogel samples without conductivity or/and microgrooves, even in the absence of electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation studies indicated that the combination of topographical and electrical cues maximized the differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes, confirming the synergetic effect of incorporating microgroove surface features and a conductive PEDOT component into hydrogels.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS applied materials & interfaces
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