We propose a novel application of dielectrophoresis (DEP) to make three-dimensional (3D) methacrylated gelatin (GelMA) hydrogels with gradients of micro- and nanoparticles. DEP forces were able to manipulate micro- and nanoparticles of different sizes and materials ( i.e., C2C12 myoblasts, polystyrene beads, gold microparticles, and carbon nanotubes) within GelMA hydrogels in a rapid and facile way and create 3D gradients of these particles in a microchamber. Immobilization of drugs, such as fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran (FITC-dextran) and 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), on gold microparticles allowed us to investigate the high-throughput release of these drugs from GelMA-gold microparticle gradient systems. The latter gradient constructs were incubated with C2C12 myoblasts for 24. h to examine the cell viability through the release of 6-OHDA. The drug was released from the microparticles in a gradient manner, inducing a cell viability gradient. This novel approach to create 3D chemical gradients within hydrogels is scalable to any arbitrary length scale. It is useful for making anisotropic biomimetic materials and high-throughput platforms to investigate cell-microenvironment interactions in a rapid, simple, cost-effective, and reproducible manner.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering