In situ microenvironment remodeling using a dual-responsive system: photodegradable hydrogels and gene activation by visible light

Eunjee A. Lee, Seoyeon Kim, Yoonhee Jin, Seung Woo Cho, Kisuk Yang, Nathaniel S. Hwang, Hwan D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 3D microenvironment with dynamic cell-biomaterial interactions was developed using a dual-responsive system for in situ microenvironment remodeling and control of cellular function. A visible-light-responsive polymer was utilized to prepare a hydrogel with photodegradation properties, enabling in situ microenvironment remodeling. Additionally, a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene activation unit that was responsive to the same wavelength of light was incorporated to support the potential application of the system in regenerative medicine. Following light exposure, the mechanical properties of the photodegradable hydrogel gradually deteriorated, and product analysis confirmed the degradation of the hydrogel, and thereby, 3D microenvironment remodeling. In situ microenvironment remodeling influenced stem cell proliferation and enlargement within the hydrogel. Furthermore, stem cells engineered to express light-activated VEGF and incorporated into the dual-responsive system were applied to wound healing and an ischemic hindlimb model, proving their potential application in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3981-3992
Number of pages12
JournalBiomaterials Science
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 14

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea (NRF-2021R1C1C2004576). The experiments were also partially supported by the “Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS)” through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) (2021RIS001(1345341783) and 2021RIS0758). This research was also supported by the Korean Fund for Regenerative Medicine (KFRM) grant funded by the Korean government (the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Health & Welfare). (code: KFRM 22A0105L1-11). This work was also supported by the Korea National University of Transportation Industry-Academy Cooperation Foundation in 2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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