Hydrocolloids of Egg White and Gelatin as a Platform for Hydrogel-Based Tissue Engineering

Pele KG, Amaveda H, Mora M, Marcuello C, Lostao A, Alamán-Díez P, Pérez-Huertas S, Ángeles Pérez M, García-Aznar JM, García-Gareta E. Hydrocolloids of Egg White and Gelatin as a Platform for Hydrogel-Based Tissue Engineering. Gels. 2023; 9(6):505. https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9060505

Innovative materials are needed to produce scaffolds for various tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) applications, including tissue models. Materials derived from natural sources that offer low production costs, easy availability, and high bioactivity are highly preferred. Chicken egg white (EW) is an overlooked protein-based material. Whilst its combination with the biopolymer gelatin has been investigated in the food technology industry, mixed hydrocolloids of EW and gelatin have not been reported in TERM. This paper investigates these hydrocolloids as a suitable platform for hydrogel-based tissue engineering, including 2D coating films, miniaturized 3D hydrogels in microfluidic devices, and 3D hydrogel scaffolds. Rheological assessment of the hydrocolloid solutions suggested that temperature and EW concentration can be used to fine-tune the viscosity of the ensuing gels. Fabricated thin 2D hydrocolloid films presented globular nano-topography and in vitro cell work showed that the mixed hydrocolloids had increased cell growth compared with EW films. Results showed that hydrocolloids of EW and gelatin can be used for creating a 3D hydrogel environment for cell studies inside microfluidic devices. Finally, 3D hydrogel scaffolds were fabricated by sequential temperature-dependent gelation followed by chemical cross-linking of the polymeric network of the hydrogel for added mechanical strength and stability. These 3D hydrogel scaffolds displayed pores, lamellae, globular nano-topography, tunable mechanical properties, high affinity for water, and cell proliferation and penetration properties. In conclusion, the large range of properties and characteristics of these materials provide a strong potential for a large variety of TERM applications, including cancer models, organoid growth, compatibility with bioprinting, or implantable devices.

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