VitroGel 3D cell culture

Due to their ability to simulate the characteristics of most soft tissues and natural scaffolds, hydrogels are now an attractive material for developing synthetic Extracellular Matrix (ECM) analogs.

Recently, the VitroGel™ hydrogels have been designed for researchers willing to fully master the characteristics of the synthetic ECM to be used with their 3D / 2D cell cultures. In this post, we will review the main benefits of the recently released VitroGel™ solutions.

VitroGel™ hydrogels are animal origin-free hydrogel systems closely mimicking the natural extracellular matrix environment. Cells grown in this 3D hydrogel possess morphologies and cellular behaviors close to their natural state making it ideal for 3D cell culture. Interestingly, these hydrogels are also ideal for 2D cell cultures of cells requiring specific attachment characteristics.

Tunable hydrogels: VitroGel™

Various solutions are available:

  1. VitroGel™ 3D (cat. nr TWG001): an animal origin-free hydrogel system mimicking the natural ECM, ideal option for floating cell lines.
  2. VitroGel® RGD-PLUS (cat. nr TWG003): A ready-to-use tunable hydrogel with a high concentration of RGD cell adhesive peptide (3X more RGD peptide compared to VitroGel 3D-RGD). VitroGel® RGD-PLUS promotes the cell attachment and cell-matrix interactions during the 3D cell culture resulting in a higher level of integrin-binding activities to promote the intercellular network.
VitroGel Applications tebu-bio

VitroGel™ Hydrogels – Mechanism of action

VitroGel™ 3D is an animal origin-free polysaccharide hydrogel system.

It has many advantages over conventional systems and matrices:

  • Ready-to-use:
The hydrogel system is room temperature stable with neutral pH.
There are no additional reagents or preparation steps. Simply mix the hydrogel solution with cell culture media for an ECM mimicking environment within 15-20 minutes!
After mixing for hydrogel formation, the system can be simply transferred from one container to another by pipetting. 3D cell culture becomes relaxed and enjoyable with this system.
  • Easy-to-use with fast gelation:

Gelation starts immediately right after mixing and becomes stable in 15 min. Cells distribute homogeneously in the hydrogel. VitroGel® Dilution solutions are available with or without sucrose:

  • Transparent:
The hydrogel is transparent and compatible with different imaging systems for cell observation.
Each VitroGel™ 3D (10 mL/vial) is good for 2.5 96-well plates at standard mixing ratio. Downstream analysis can be done with standard protocols and reagents. No additional reagents or equipment are necessary.
  • Permeable:
Oxygen, nutrition and other molecules can easily move into/out of the hydrogel system. Great for drug discovery studies!
  • More accurate for 3D cell culture:
The morphologies and behaviours of cells grown in VitroGel™ 3D hydrogel system are similar to their natural state, which provides data to bridge in vitro and in vivo studies for many applications. Studies become remarkable with outstanding data!
  • Convenient for cell harvesting:
Cell harvesting is made easy. After 3D cell culture, cells can easily be harvested from the hydrogel by using standard centrifuging methods.

To recover your cells from the hydrogel within only 15 minutes, the enzyme-free VitroGel® Cell Recovery Solution  is now available.

  • Injectable – Using the right mixing ratio, the hydrogel becomes injectable for xenograft studies for example.

VitroGel™ hydrogel performances

  • The VitroGel™ 3D hydrogel system has great flexibility of physical/chemical properties and the hydrogel preparation can also be manipulated to meet different applications.

VitroGel 3D is a powerful tool for your cell culture research:

  • 3D cell culture:

VitroGel™ 3D can be used for 3D cell culture by simply mixing with cells. The hydrogel matrix supports cells to grow as 3D colonies over time. Drugs or other chemical compounds can be added to penetrate into the hydrogel system for screening.

VitroGel™ hydrogels are compatible with long-term cultures to give accurate experimental data as seen in the application note here concerning long-term neuron Culture Maturation in 3D Hydrogel constructs (figure below comparing data obtained with VitroGel™ 3D hydrogel vs. MatriGel).

TheWellBio Long-term Neuron culture VitroGel Hydrogel vs Matrigel
Comparison of long-term neuronal culture seeded onto thick hydrogel mats. Cells are stained with Beta-III-Tubulin (green) cytoskeleton marker and their nuclei are counter-stained with DAPI (blue) (source: TheWellBio).
  • 2D coating (migration / invasion / adhesion):

VitroGel™ 3D can be used to coat the substance that cells grow on. The different stiffness and texture of the substance might lead to different cell behaviors. Also, as time goes on, cells might move into the hydrogel matrix for invasion/migration study.

  • Xenograft studies and other applications:
By mixing the VitroGel™ 3D hydrogel solution and cell suspension (or other ionic solution) in a proper ratio (recommended: 4:1 v/v), an injectable hydrogel can be formed and used for xenograft, drug delivery, bio-printing, microarrays etc…

Additionally, the VitroGel™ 3D hydrogel properties and preparing protocols can be manipulated for different physical/chemical characteristics and gel formation times. The concentration of hydrogel solution can also be adjusted for different hydrogel strengths. Multiple applications can be done with these flexibilities.

VitroGel™ 3D makes it possible to bridge the in vitro and in vivo studies with the same platform system.

Our customers have used this cell culture system for cancer and tumour cell biology, stem cells and tissue engineering, drug discovery and toxicity study and much more.

To know more about VitroGel™ Hydrogels

Written by Philippe Fixe, PhD
Philippe Fixe is a former Marketing Manager at tebu-bio, passionate about innovation and R&D in Life sciences, Biotechnology, Medical research, Drug discovery, and also a keen photographer.