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Preparation and Characterizations of Alginate-Agarose Polymeric Hydrogel for Potential Stem Cell Delivery

Thivya Jayashankar, Mark Ko Xiang Ping, Heng Wei Zhi, Norhayati Yusop, Nur Fatiha Ghazalli


Polymeric hydrogel is cross-linked material with three-dimensional (3D) structures, capable of retaining water where their softness and smartness properties are highly beneficial in stem cell transportation. Synthetically produced hydrogels can be modified to alter their ability to respond to changes in the external environment. Alginates can transport low molecular weight substances, while agarose is beneficial in cell growth, differentiation and proliferation. The preparation and characterisations of the alginate-agarose (Al/Ag) hydrogels are essential to assess the suitability of components to support cells viability during the transportation period. This study aims to prepare and characterise Al/Ag hydrogels' unique properties for potential stem cell transportation by cells encapsulation. Methodically, Al/Ag hydrogels beads were formed by mixing the different composition of alginate and agarose, dropped into 0.3M calcium chloride solution. An optimized combination of 1.5% alginate and 2.0% agarose (Al1.5/Ag2.0) and 1.5% alginate and 0.1% agarose (Al1.5/Ag0.1) were selected for characterizations. The swelling test was carried out in 0.3M calcium chloride solution to discover the degree of swelling (DS) with 19.5 swelling ratios for Al1.5/Ag0.1 higher than 17.32 swelling ratio for Al1.5/Ag2.0. For the degradation test, both optimised samples were observed for 11 days with a degradation rate of 0.486 mg/day for Al1.5/Ag0.1 was higher than Al1.5/Ag2.0, with 0.087 mg/day were recorded. The Al/Ag beads were characterised using Fourier Transform Enfrared (FT-IR) Spectrometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). From the FT-IR analysis, the spectra revealed an important combination functional group in the Al/Ag hydrogels. The surface morphology of both the samples was porous with different diameters and wrinkled, paper-like rough surface structure. Based on the findings, we suggested that Al/Ag hydrogels' properties can be prepared as stem cells transportation medium where the pore size and molecular interconnections are essential in determining the solute absorption and diffusion.


Alginate; Agarose; Polymeric Hydrogels; Stem Cell Transportation

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