New guanosine-based gels for use as tissue engineering scaffolds have been made by scientists in the US. The gels can gel aqueous solutions and cell media at physiological salt concentrations. They are also injectable and non-toxic to cells.
Previous gels have had limited use because of poor lifetime stability and the need for specific salt concentrations or pH values that are not physiological. These new gels form helical assemblies rather than the quartet assemblies that are normally found in guanosine gelators. This allows them to form hydrogels at physiological salt concentrations – as low as 0.5wt% in 100mM NaCl.
The researchers acknowledge that there are issues to be addressed, such as the development of gel systems that allow cell adhesion without added gelatine, and studies into the lifetime of the gels in cell media.
Toward Potential Supramolecular Tissue Engineering Scaffolds Based on Guanosine Derivatives
L E Buerkle, H A von Recum and S J Rowan, Chem. Sci., 2011