In vitro fabricated biological tissue would be a valuable tool to screen newly synthesized drugs or understand the tissue development process. Several studies have attempted to fabricate biological tissue in vitro. However, controlling the growth and morphology of the fabricated tissue remains a challenge. Therefore, new techniques are required to modulate tissue growth. RGD (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid), which is an integrin-binding domain of fibronectin, has been found to enhance cell adhesion and survival; it has been used to modify substrates for in vitro cell culture studies or used as tissue engineering scaffolds. In addition, this study shows novel functions of the RGD peptide, which enhances tissue growth and modulates tissue morphology in vitro. When an isolated submandibular gland (SMG) was cultured on an RGD-modified alginate hydrogel sheet, SMG growth including bud expansion and cleft formation was dramatically enhanced. Furthermore, we prepared small RGD-modified alginate beads and placed them on the growing SMG tissue. These RGD-modified beads successfully induced cleft formation at the bead position, guiding the desired SMG morphology. Thus, this RGD-modified material might be a promising tool to modulate tissue growth and morphology in vitro for biological tissue fabrication.
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