Combinatorial Screening of Nanoclay-Reinforced Hydrogels: A Glimpse of the "Holy Grail" in Orthopedic Stem Cell Therapy? Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the promise of hydrogel-based stem cell therapies in orthopedics, a significant need still exists for the development of injectable microenvironments capable of utilizing the regenerative potential of donor cells. Indeed, the quest for biomaterials that can direct stem cells into bone without the need of external factors has been the "Holy Grail" in orthopedic stem cell therapy for decades. To address this challenge, we have utilized a combinatorial approach to screen over 63 nanoengineered hydrogels made from alginate, hyaluronic acid, and two-dimensional nanoclays. Out of these combinations, we have identified a biomaterial that can promote osteogenesis in the absence of well-established differentiation factorssuch as bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) or dexamethasone. Notably, in our "hit" formulationswe observed a 36-fold increase in alkaline phosphate (ALP)activity and a 11-fold increase in the formation of mineralized matrix, compared to the control hydrogel. This induced osteogenesis was further supported by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Additionally, theMontmorillonite-reinforced hydrogels exhibited high osteointegration as evident from the relatively stronger adhesion to the bone explants as compared to the control. Overall, our results demonstrate the capability of combinatorial and nanoengineered biomaterials to induce bone regeneration through osteoinduction of stem cells in a natural and differentiation-factor-free environment.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

altmetric score

  • 25.05

author list (cited authors)

  • Hasany, M., Thakur, A., Taebnia, N., Kadumudi, F. B., Shahbazi, M., Pierchala, M. K., ... Dolatshahi-Pirouz, A.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Hasany, Masoud||Thakur, Ashish||Taebnia, Nayere||Kadumudi, Firoz Babu||Shahbazi, Mohammad-Ali||Pierchala, Malgorzata Karolina||Mohanty, Soumyaranjan||Orive, Gorka||Andresen, Thomas L||Foldager, Casper Bindzus||Yaghmaei, Soheila||Arpanaei, Ayyoob||Gaharwar, Akhilesh K||Mehrali, Mehdi||Dolatshahi-Pirouz, Alireza

publication date

  • October 2018