Hydrogel-based biomimetic environment for in vitro modulation of branching morphogenesis

Hiroyuki Miyajima, Takuya Matsumoto, Takayoshi Sakai, Satoshi Yamaguchi, Sang Hyun An, Makoto Abe, Satoshi Wakisaka, Kuen Yong Lee, Hiroshi Egusa, Satoshi Imazato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical properties of the cellular microenvironment dramatically alter during tissue development and growth. Growing evidence suggests that physical microenvironments and mechanical stresses direct cell fate in developing tissue. However, how these physical cues affect the tissue morphogenesis remains a major unknown. We explain here that the physical properties of the cell and tissue microenvironment, biomimetically reproduced by using hydrogel, guide the tissue morphogenesis in the developmental submandibular gland (SMG). In particular, the softer gel enhances the bud expansion and cleft formation of SMG, whereas the stiffer gel attenuates them. These morphological changes in SMG tissue are led by soluble factors (FGF7/10) induction regulated by cell traction force derived from the tissue deformation. Our findings suggest that cells sense the mechanics of their surrounding environment and alter their properties for self-organization and the following tissue morphogenesis. Also, physically designed hydrogel material is a valuable tool for producing the biomimetic microenvironment to explore how physical cues affect tissue morphogenesis and to modulate tissue morphogenesis for . in vitro tissue synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6754-6763
Number of pages10
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct


  • Alginate
  • Biomimetic material
  • Mechanical properties
  • Morphogenesis
  • Salivary gland


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