Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Bernhard Vogler

Committee Member

Anuradha Subramanian

Committee Member

Carmen Scholz

Research Advisor

Anuradha Subramanian


Synovial membranes, Macrophages, Colloids


This study explores macrophage cell function in healthy and diseased tissue that alters the synovial membrane housing fibroblasts and macrophages by examining how substrate stiffness impacts macrophage function. Current research suggests macrophages adapt, becoming more inflammatory in this environment. Divalent ions (CaCl2 or SrCl2) are used to adjust alginate hydrogel stiffness. The monocyte cell line THP-1 is transformed into macrophages through PMA, LPS, and IFNγ treatment within hydrogels, then cultured for 12 days. Divalent ions affect macrophage functionality; Sr2+ crosslinked hydrogels show higher viability, as well as an increased expression of M1 markers CD197 and IL1β, while M2 marker expression stays consistent for both ions. Ca2+ crosslinked hydrogels show higher secretion of MCP-1, IL1β, and TNFα, and persist longer compared to Sr2+ crosslinked hydrogels. Despite lower cytokine expression in Sr2+ crosslinked hydrogels, their viability and gene expression surpass Ca2+ crosslinked hydrogels. This suggests Sr2+ hydrogels promote M1 macrophages more effectively.



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