Modular flow chamber for engineering bone marrow architecture and function.
Hyaluronan (HA) is a glycosamminoglican involved in cell biology as well as a relevant polymer for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Megakaryocytes (Mks) are immersed in a mesh of extracellular matrix (ECM) components that regulate their maturation in the bone marrow (BM) and the release of platelets into the bloodstream. While fibrous ECMs such as collagens and fibronectin have been demonstrated to differently regulate Mk function and platelet release, the role of HA, that fills the majority of the BM extracellular interstitial space, has not been investigated so far. Here we demonstrated that, although human Mks express HA receptors, they are not affected by HA in terms of in vitro differentiation, maturation and platelet formation. Importantly, chemical properties of HA were exploited to generate hydrogels with entrapped ECMs that represent a useful model to more closely mimic the tridimensional characteristics of the BM environment for studying Mk function. In conclusion, in this work we demonstrated that HA is an ideal candidate for a 3D ex vivo model of human BM ECM component environment.