Mechanical characteristics of beta sheet-forming peptide hydrogels are dependent on peptide sequence, concentration and buffer composition
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Self-assembling peptide hydrogels can be modified regarding their biodegradability, their chemical and mechanical properties and their nanofibrillar structure. Thus, self-assembling peptide hydrogels might be suitable scaffolds for regenerative therapies and tissue engineering. Owing to the use of various peptide concentrations and buffer compositions, the self-assembling peptide hydrogels might be influenced regarding their mechanical characteristics. Therefore, the mechanical properties and stability of a set of self-assembling peptide hydrogels, consisting of 11 amino acids, made from four beta sheet self-assembling peptides in various peptide concentrations and buffer compositions were studied. The formed self-assembling peptide hydrogels exhibited stiffnesses ranging from 0.6 to 205 kPa. The hydrogel stiffness was mostly affected by peptide sequence followed by peptide concentration and buffer composition. All self-assembling peptide hydrogels examined provided a nanofibrillar network formation. A maximum self-assembling peptide hydrogel dissolution of 20% was observed for different buffer solutions after 7 days. The stability regarding enzymatic and bacterial digestion showed less degradation in comparison to the self-assembling peptide hydrogel dissolution rate in buffer. The tested set of self-assembling peptide hydrogels were able to form stable scaffolds and provided a broad spectrum of tissue-specific stiffnesses that are suitable for a regenerative therapy.