The definitive goal of this research is to develop protein-based scaffolds for use in soft tissue regeneration, particularly in the field of dermal healing. The premise of this investigation was to characterize the mechanical properties of gelatin cross-linked with microbial transglutaminase (mTGase) and to investigate the cytocompatibility of mTGase cross-linked gelatin. Dynamic rheological analysis revealed a significant increase in the storage modulus and thermal stability of gelatin after cross-linking with mTGase. Static, unconfined compression tests showed an increase in Young's modulus of gelatin gels after mTGase cross-linking. A comparable increase in gel strength was observed with 0.03% mTGase and 0.25% glutaraldehyde cross-linked gelatin gels. In vitro studies using 3T3 fibroblasts indicated cytotoxicity at a concentration of 0.05% mTGase after 72 h. However, no significant inhibition of cell proliferation was seen with cells grown on lower concentrations of mTGase cross-linked gelatin substrates. The mechanical improvement and cytocompatibility of mTGase cross-linked gelatin suggests mTGase has potential for use in stabilizing gelatin gels for tissue-engineering applications.
- microbial transglutaminase
- tissue engineering