Lyophilized Polyvinylpyrrolidone Hydrogel for Culture of Human Oral Mucosa Stem Cells

This work shows the synthesis of a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) hydrogel by heat-activated polymerization and explores the production of hydrogels with an open porous network by lyophilisation to allow the three-dimensional culture of human oral mucosa stem cells (hOMSCs). The swollen hydrogel showed a storage modulus similar to oral mucosa and elastic solid rheological behaviour without sol transition. A comprehensive characterization of porosity by scanning electron microscopy, mercury intrusion porosimetry and nano-computed tomography (with spatial resolution below 1 mu m) showed that lyophilisation resulted in the heterogeneous incorporation of closed oval-like pores in the hydrogel with broad size distribution (5 to 180 mu m, d(50) = 65 mu m). Human oral mucosa biopsies were used to isolate hOMSCs, expressing typical markers of mesenchymal stem cells in more than 95% of the cell population. Direct contact cytotoxicity assay demonstrated that PVP hydrogel have no negative effect on cell metabolic activity, allowing the culture of hOMSCs with normal fusiform morphology. Pore connectivity should be improved in future to allow cell growth in the bulk of the PVP hydrogel.
Materials . 2021, vol. 14, issue 1, p. 1-14.
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