Bioactive nanoengineered hydrogels for bone tissue engineering

(Nanowerk News) Despite bone's impressive ability to heal after traumatic injuries and fractures, a significant need still exists for developing strategies to promote healing of nonunion defects. To address this issue, researchers at Texas A&M University have engineered bioactive nanocomposite hydrogels loaded with nanosilicates within collagen-based polymer networks.
They reported their findings in ACS Nano ("Bioactive Nanoengineered Hydrogels for Bone Tissue Engineering: A Growth-Factor-Free Approach").
Although the use of nanosilicates in the life sciences is still in its infancy, the promising bioactive effects promoted by interactions with nanosilicates has opened a wide range of biomedical and biological applications, including therapeutics, imaging, and disease-related diagnostics for regenerative medicine.
When incorporated into a gelatin matrix, the nanosilicates likely interact with polymeric chains through strong electrostatic interactions and were shown to enhance several physical, chemical, and biological properties of the hydrogel.
The addition of silicate nanoparticles increased stiffness and in vitro enzymatic stability, thus improving the tunable mechanical properties and degradation profile.
In vitro data indicated that silicate-based bioactive nanocomposites support cell adhesion and proliferation and promote osteogenic differentiation of preosteoblasts in the absence of any osteoinductive factor. Overall, these nanosilicate-based nanocomposites are highly bioactive and show strong promise for use in a range of bone tissue engineering applications.
Source: American Chemical Society
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