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Polysaccharide matrices used in 3D in vitro cell culture systems

Diekjürgen, Dorina, Grainger, David W.
Biomaterials 2017 v.141 pp. 96-115
biocompatibility, biocompatible materials, cell culture, extracellular matrix, gelation, polymers, polysaccharides
Polysaccharides comprise a diverse class of polymeric materials with a history of proven biocompatibility and continual use as biomaterials. Recent focus on new matrices appropriate for three-dimensional (3D) cell culture offers new opportunities to apply polysaccharides as extracellular matrix mimics. However, chemical and structural bases for specific cell-polysaccharide interactions essential for their utility as 3-D cell matrices are not well defined. This review describes how these naturally sourced biomaterials satisfy several key properties for current 3D cell culture needs and can also be synthetically modified or blended with additional components to tailor their cell engagement properties. Beyond their benign interactions with many cell types in cultures, their economical and high quality sourcing, optical clarity for ex situ analytical interrogation and in situ gelation represent important properties of these polymers for 3D cell culture applications. Continued diversification of their versatile glycan chemistry, new bio-synthetic sourcing strategies and elucidation of new cell-specific properties are attractive to expand the polysaccharide polymer utility for cell culture needs. Many 3D cell culture priorities are addressed with the portfolio of polysaccharide materials available and under development. This review provides a critical analysis of their properties, capabilities and challenges in 3D cell culture applications.