Nanoengineered biomimetic hydrogels for guiding human stem cell osteogenesis in three dimensional microenvironments
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The ability to modulate stem cell differentiation in a three dimensional (3D) microenvironment for bone tissue engineering in absence of exogenous pharmaceutical agents such as bone morphogenic protein (BMP-2) remains a challenge. In this study, we introduce extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimicking nanocomposite hydrogels to induce osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) for bone regeneration in absence of any osteoinducting factors. In particular, we have reinforced photocrosslinkable collagen-based matrix (gelatin methacryloyl, GelMA) used disk-shaped nanosilicates (nSi), a new class of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials. We show that nanoengineered hydrogels supported migration and proliferation of encapsulated hMSCs, with no signs of cell apoptosis or inflammatory cytokine responses. The addition of nSi significantly enhances osteogenic differentiation of encapsulated hMSCs as evident by the increase in alkaline phosphates (ALP) activity and deposition of biomineralized matrix compared to GelMA without nSi. We also show that microfabricated nanoengineered microgels can be used to pattern and control cellular behaviour. Furthermore, we also show that nanoengineered hydrogel have high biocompatibility as determined by in vivo experiments using immunocompetent rat model. Specifically, the hydrogels showed minimum localized immune responses, indicating it ability for tissue engineering applications. Overall, we showed the ability of nanoengineered hydrogels loaded with 2D nanosilicates for osteogenic differentiation of stem cells in vitro, in absence of any growth factors such as BMP-2. Our in vivo studies show high biocompatibility of nanocomposites and show the potential for growth factor free bone regeneration.
author list (cited authors)
Paul, A., Manoharan, V., Krafft, D., Assmann, A., Uquillas, J. A., Shin, S. R., ... Khademhosseini, A.