Adaptable Microporous Hydrogels of Propagating NGF-Gradient by Injectable Building Blocks for Accelerated Axonal Outgrowth

Ru Siou Hsu, Pei Yueh Chen, Jen Hung Fang, You Yin Chen, Chien Wen Chang, Yu Jen Lu*, Shang Hsiu Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

115 Scopus citations


Injectable hydrogels in regeneration medicine can potentially mimic hierarchical natural living tissue and fill complexly shaped defects with minimally invasive implantation procedures. To achieve this goal, however, the versatile hydrogels that usually possess the nonporous structure and uncontrollable spatial agent release must overcome the difficulties in low cell-penetrative rates of tissue regeneration. In this study, an adaptable microporous hydrogel (AMH) composed of microsized building blocks with opposite charges serves as an injectable matrix with interconnected pores and propagates gradient growth factor for spontaneous assembly into a complex shape in real time. By embedding gradient concentrations of growth factors into the building blocks, the propagated gradient of the nerve growth factor, integrated to the cell-penetrative connected pores constructed by the building blocks in the nerve conduit, effectively promotes cell migration and induces dramatic bridging effects on peripheral nerve defects, achieving axon outgrowth of up to 4.7 mm and twofold axon fiber intensity in 4 days in vivo. Such AMHs with intrinsic properties of tunable mechanical properties, gradient propagation of biocues and effective induction of cell migration are potentially able to overcome the limitations of hydrogel-mediated tissue regeneration in general and can possibly be used in clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900520
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number16
StatePublished - 08 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • adaptable hydrogels
  • controlled release
  • injectable
  • porous scaffolds
  • tissue regeneration


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