Recent publications strongly reported that viscoelasticity of the substrate is one of the key factor which plays a central role in cellular mechanotransduction impacting cell behavior. Over the last decade, Bombyx mori silk, a natural protein, has the potential to serve as tissue mimetic hydrogels for healthcare applications. However, the role silk hydrogel stress relaxation on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) performance has not been investigated. Our aim was therefore to fabricate silk hydrogels to serve as ECM mimetic culture substrate for hMSCs. Silk hydrogels were manufactured by either chemical or physical cross-linking, generating elastic and viscoelastic hydrogels, respectively. Properties of the hydrogels were determined by SEM, FTIR, and Rheology. Following by determine the impact of these hydrogels on hMSC behaviour in 3 main aspects (i.e. gene expression, extracellular protein secretion, and extracellular metabolic).
All datasets for each figure provided in separate zipped folders. All measurements, equipment and software used in this study are detailed in the Readme file provided.