Modulation of Decellularized Lacrimal Gland Hydrogel Biodegradation by Genipin Crosslinking


Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2024 May 1;65(5):24. doi: 10.1167/iovs.65.5.24.


PURPOSE: Hydrogels derived from decellularized tissues are promising biomaterials in tissue engineering, but their rapid biodegradation can hinder in vitro cultivation. This study aimed to retard biodegradation of a hydrogel derived from porcine decellularized lacrimal glands (dLG-HG) by crosslinking with genipin to increase the mechanical stability without affecting the function and viability of lacrimal gland (LG)-associated cells.

METHODS: The effect of different genipin concentrations on dLG-HG stiffness was measured rheologically. Cell-dependent biodegradation was quantified over 10 days, and the impact on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity was quantified by gelatin and collagen zymography. The viability of LG epithelial cells (EpCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and endothelial cells (ECs) cultured on genipin-crosslinked dLG-HG was assessed after 10 days, and EpC secretory activity was analyzed by β-hexosaminidase assay.

RESULTS: The 0.5-mM genipin increased the stiffness of dLG-HG by about 46%, and concentrations > 0.25 mM caused delayed cell-dependent biodegradation and reduced MMP activity. The viability of EpCs, MSCs, and ECs was not affected by genipin concentrations of up to 0.5 mM after 10 days. Moreover, up to 0.5-mM genipin did not negatively affect EpC secretory activity compared to control groups.

CONCLUSIONS: A concentration of 0.5-mM genipin increased dLG-HG stiffness, and 0.25-mM genipin was sufficient to prevent MMP-dependent degradation. Importantly, concentrations of up to 0.5-mM genipin did not compromise the viability of LG-associated cells or the secretory activity of EpCs. Thus, crosslinking with genipin improves the properties of dLG-HG for use as a substrate in LG tissue engineering.

PMID:38748430 | DOI:10.1167/iovs.65.5.24