Viability of encapsulated adherent and non-adherent dendritic cells through the manipulation of PEG-4MAL hydrogel weight percent

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Wildschut, Naomi P
Babensee, Julia E.
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In the United States alone, 400,000 people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis(MS), a disease in which the immune system attacks neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS, PNS). Currently, no cure exists, and treatment methods often only mildly alleviate symptoms. Therefore, current researchers are finding new methods to treat the disease, specifically the role that tolerized dendritic cells (DCs) combined with varying biomaterials and cytokine delivery mechanisms play when exposed to an in vitro murine model. The research performed in this paper examined the morphology and the viability of adherent vs non-adherent DCs encapsulated in PEG4MAL hydrogel with varying weight percentages of the polymer. Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry were used to analyze cell viability. Moreover, tolerization of DCs with interleukin-10 (IL-10) was examined and the most promising method for cytokine delivery to DCs in a PEG hydrogel was investigated. It was found that adherent DC's have highest viability in lower weight percent PEG4MAL hydrogels compared to non-adherent DC's and that PEGylated IL-10 is the most efficient mechanism to introduce the cytokine to the DCs. Analyzing the thiolation of IL-10 was then the first step of this process, and results are underway. Future studies will optimize the characteristics of the hydrogel to allow for the greatest DC phenotype and viability. In turn, this can lead to an in vivo model and offer a more successful form of treatment for the disease.
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