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Light-guiding hydrogels for cell-based sensing and optogenetic synthesis in vivo

Nature Photonics volume 7, pages 987994 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Polymer hydrogels are widely used as cell scaffolds for biomedical applications. Although the biochemical and biophysical properties of hydrogels have been investigated extensively, little attention has been paid to their potential photonic functionalities. Here, we report cell-integrated polyethylene glycol-based hydrogels for in vivo optical-sensing and therapy applications. Hydrogel patches containing cells were implanted in awake, freely moving mice for several days and shown to offer long-term transparency, biocompatibility, cell viability and light-guiding properties (loss of <1 dB cm−1). Using optogenetic, glucagon-like peptide-1 secreting cells, we conducted light-controlled therapy using the hydrogel in a mouse model with diabetes and obtained improved glucose homeostasis. Furthermore, real-time optical readout of encapsulated heat-shock-protein-coupled fluorescent reporter cells made it possible to measure the nanotoxicity of cadmium-based bare and shelled quantum dots (CdTe; CdSe/ZnS) in vivo.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank M. Fussenegger and H. Ye (ETH) for providing plasmids for optogenetic experiments. This work was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (R21 EB013761), the US National Science Foundation (ECS-1101947), the US Department of Defense (FA9550-10-1-0537), the IT Consilience Creative Program of MKE and NIPA (C1515-1121-0003) and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program and the World Class University Program of the Korean National Research Foundation (2012M3A9C6049791 and R31-2008-000-10071-0). S.N. acknowledges financial support from the Bullock–Wellman Fellowship.

Author information

Author notes

    • Seok Hyun Yun

    Present address: Harvard University, 65 Lansdowne Street, UP-525, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

Affiliations

  1. Harvard Medical School and Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Blossom Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA

    • Myunghwan Choi
    • , Jin Woo Choi
    • , Sedat Nizamoglu
    • , Sei Kwang Hahn
    •  & Seok Hyun Yun
  2. WCU Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 373-1 Guseong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Korea

    • Myunghwan Choi
    • , Seonghoon Kim
    •  & Seok Hyun Yun
  3. Wonkwang Institute of Interfused Biomedical Science, Department of Pharmacology, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Seoul, Korea

    • Jin Woo Choi
  4. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, 77 Cheongam-Ro, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Korea

    • Sei Kwang Hahn

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Contributions

M.C. and S.H.Y. designed the experiments. M.C. performed the experiments. J.W.C., S.K. and S.N. provided materials. M.C., S.K., S.K.H. and S.H.Y. analysed the data. M.C. and S.H.Y. wrote the manuscript, with input from all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Seok Hyun Yun.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.278

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