3D culture of stem cells can improve therapeutic effects. However, there is limited research on how to deliver cultured stem cell spheroids to the desired target. Here, we developed lotus seedpod-inspired hydrogel (LoSH) containing microwells for culture and delivery of stem cell spheroids. Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) inside the square microwells (200 or 400 μm in width with various depths) spontaneously formed spheroids with high viability (94.08 ± 1.56%), and fibronectins conjugated to the hydrogel successfully gripped the spheroids, similar to the funiculus gripping seeds in the lotus seedpod. The spheroids slightly bound to the LoSH surface at 37 °C were detached by the expansion of LoSH at lower temperature of 4 °C. After spheroid formation, LoSH was placed on the target substrate upside-down, expanded at 4 °C for 10 min, and removed from the target. As a result, the spheroids within the microwell were successfully transferred to the target substrate with high transfer efficiency (93.78 ± 2.30%). A delivery of spheroids from LoSH to full-thickness murine skin wound with chimney model showed significant enhancement of the number of SMA-positive vessels at day 21 compared to the group received the same number of spheroids by injection. Together, our findings demonstrate LoSH as a one-step platform that can culture and deliver spheroids to a large target area, which will be useful for various biomedical applications.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2019|