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, Andrew D. Randall, Bing Song, Derek N. Woolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalACS Biomaterial Science and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 14 2015
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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