Herein, we demonstrate an example of glucosamine-based supramolecular hydrogels that can be used for human mesenchymal cell therapy. We designed and synthesized a series of amino acid derivatives based on a strategy of capping d-glucosamine moiety at the C-terminus and fluorinated benzyl group at the N-terminus. From a systematic study on chemical structures, we discovered that the glucosamine-based supramolecular hydrogel [pentafluorobenzyl (PFB)-F-Glu] self-assembled with one-dimensional nanotubular structures at physiological pH. The self-assembly of a newly discovered PFB-F-Glu motif is attributed to the synergistic effect of π-π stacking and extensive intermolecular hydrogen bonding network in aqueous medium. Notably, PFB-F-Glu nanotubes are proven to be nontoxic to human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and have been shown to enhance hMSC proliferation while maintaining their pluripotency. Retaining of pluripotency capabilities provides potentially unlimited source of undifferentiated cells for the treatment of future cell therapies. Furthermore, hMSCs cultured on PFB-F-Glu are able to secrete paracrine factors that downregulate profibrotic gene expression in lipopolysaccharide-treated human skin fibroblasts, which demonstrates that PFB-F-Glu nanotubes have the potential to be used for wound healing applications. Overall, this article addresses the importance of chemical design to generate supramolecular biomaterials for stem cell therapy.
- supramolecular chemistry
- wound healing