Coiled Coil Crosslinked Alginate Hydrogels Dampen Macrophage-Driven Inflammation

Zain Clapacs, Conor L. Oneill, Paresh Shrimali, Giriraj Lokhande, Megan Files, Darren D. Kim, Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, Jai S. Rudra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Alginate hydrogels are widely used for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine due to their excellent biocompatibility. A facile and commonly used strategy to crosslink alginate is the addition of Ca2+that leads to hydrogelation. However, extracellular Ca2+is a secondary messenger in activating inflammasome pathways following physical injury or pathogenic insult, which carries the risk of persistent inflammation and scaffold rejection. Here, we present graft copolymers of charge complementary heterodimeric coiled coil (CC) peptides and alginate that undergo supramolecular self-assembly to form Ca2+free alginate hydrogels. The formation of heterodimeric CCs was confirmed using circular dichroism spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy revealed a significant difference in crosslink density and homogeneity between Ca2+and CC crosslinked gels. The resulting hydrogels were self-supporting and display shear-thinning and shear-recovery properties. In response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, peritoneal macrophages and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells cultured in the CC crosslinked gels exhibited a 10-fold reduction in secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β compared to Ca2+crosslinked gels. A similar response was also observed in vivo upon peritoneal delivery of Ca2+or CC crosslinked gels. Analysis of peritoneal lavage showed that macrophages in mice injected with Ca2+crosslinked gels display a more inflammatory phenotype compared to macrophages from mice injected with CC crosslinked gels. These results suggest that CC peptides by virtue of their tunable sequence-structure-function relationship and mild gelation conditions are promising alternative crosslinkers for alginate and other biopolymer scaffolds used in tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1194
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2022


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