Cell culture substrate with user-controllable stiffness


January 4, 2021

Elasticity of the hydrogel is reversibly altered by using non-cytotoxic reagent

Background / Context / Abstract:

Mechanobiology is an emerging field in bioscience. Cells have a capability to adapt to dynamic changes in mechanical environments during development and disease progression (Discher, Wang, Janmey, Science, 310, 1139 (2005)). In contrast to chemically cross-linked polymer substrates, “dynamic” substrates enabling the reversible switching of stiffness open a large potential to study how cells respond to mechanical “stresses”. Despite of a strong demand by researchers, most of previous dynamic substrates either utilize cyto-toxic cues such as UV light and temperature change or can change the stiffness only once.

Technology Overview:

Osaka University researchers have developed a new “host-guest gel”, whose stiffness can reversibly be switched by dissolving competing host/guest molecules in solutions. It enables us to recapitulate dynamic changes in extracellular microenviroments. We demonstrated the morphological swithcing of somatic cells and the maintenance of human/mouse stem cell functions on our hydrogels over a month.


・You can modify the stiffness of substrates on your demand while cell culturing.
・This is the first product that you can reversibly change the mechanical environments of cells.


The cell culture kit with this substrate is applicable for any typesof cells

State of Development / Opportunity / Seeking:

・Available for exclusive and non-exclusive licensing
・Exclusive/non-exclusive evaluation for defined period (set up for options)
・Collaborative/supportive research
・Development partner

IP Status:

WO2018/021289 (PCT applied in Japanese)


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