Functionalized α-Helical Peptide Hydrogels for Neural Tissue Engineering

Nazia Mehrban, Bangfu Zhu, Francesco Tamagnini, Fraser I Young, Alexandra Wasmuth, Kieran L Hudson, Andrew R Thomson, Martin A Birchall, Andy D Randall, Bing Song, Derek N Woolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
360 Downloads (Pure)


Trauma to the central and peripheral nervous systems often lead to serious morbidity. Current surgical methods for repairing or replacing such damage have limitations. Tissue engineering offers a potential alternative. Here we show that functionalized α-helical-peptide hydrogels can be used to induce attachment, migration, proliferation and differentiation of murine embryonic neural stem cells (NSCs). Specifically, compared with undecorated gels, those functionalized with Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) peptides increase the proliferative activity of NSCs; promote their directional migration; induce differentiation, with increased expression of microtubule-associated protein-2, and a low expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein; and lead to the formation of larger neurospheres. Electrophysiological measurements from NSCs grown in RGDS-decorated gels indicate developmental progress toward mature neuron-like behavior. Our data indicate that these functional peptide hydrogels may go some way toward overcoming the limitations of current approaches to nerve-tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2015

Structured keywords

  • Bristol BioDesign Institute
  • BrisSynBio
  • BCS and TECS CDTs


  • hydrogel
  • nerve tissue engineering
  • peptide
  • RGD peptide
  • self-assembly
  • stem cell
  • Synthetic biology

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