Engineered 3D hydrogels with full-length fibronectin that sequester and present growth factors

Sara Trujllo, Cristina González-García, Patricia Rico, Andrew Reid, James Windmill, Matthew J. Dalby, Manuel Salmerón-Sánchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


Extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived matrices such as Matrigel are used to culture numerous cell types in vitro as they recapitulate ECM properties that support cell growth, organisation, migration and differentiation. These ECM-derived matrices contain various growth factors which make them highly bioactive. However, they suffer lot-to-lot variability, undefined composition and lack of controlled physical properties. There is a need to develop rationally designed biomaterials that can also recapitulate ECM roles. Here, we report the development of Fibronectin (FN)-based 3D hydrogels of controlled stiffness and degradability that incorporate full-length FN to enable solid-phase presentation of growth factors in a physiological manner. We demonstrate, in vitro and in vivo, the effect of incorporating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) in these hydrogels to enhance angiogenesis and bone regeneration, respectively. These hydrogels represent a step-change in the design of well-defined, reproducible, synthetic microenvironments for 3D cell culture that incorporate growth factors to achieve functional effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120104
Number of pages15
Early online date7 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020


  • hydrogels
  • growth factors
  • fibronectin
  • poly(ethylene) glycol
  • bone
  • vascularization


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