Multicomponent Peptide Hydrogels as an Innovative Platform for Cell-Based Tissue Engineering in the Dental Pulp

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In light of the increasing levels of antibiotic resistance, nanomaterials and novel biologics are urgently required to manage bacterial infections. To date, commercially available self-assembling peptide hydrogels have not been studied extensively for their ability to inhibit micro-organisms relevant to tissue engineering sites such as dental root canals. In this work, we assess the biocompatibility of dental pulp stem/stromal cells with commercially available multicomponent peptide hydrogels. We also determine the effects of dental pulp stem/stromal cell (DPSC) culture in hydrogels on growth factor/cytokine expression. Furthermore, to investigate novel aspects of self-assembling peptide hydrogels, we determine their antimicrobial activity against the oral pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Fusobacterium nucleatum. We show that self-assembling peptide hydrogels and hydrogels functionalized with the adhesion motif Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) are biocompatible with DPSCs, and that cells grown in 3D hydrogel cultures produce a discrete secretome compared with 2D-cultured cells. Furthermore, we show that soluble peptides and assembled hydrogels have antimicrobial effects against oral pathogens. Given their antibacterial activity against oral pathogens, biocompatibility with dental pulp stem/stromal cells and enhancement of an angiogenic secretome, multicomponent peptide hydrogels hold promise for translational use.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 22 Sep 2021


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