Gelatin-hyaluronic acid (Gel-HA) hybrid hydrogels have been proposed as matrices for tissue engineering because of their ability to mimic the architecture of the extracellular matrix. Our aim was to explore whether tyramine conjugates of Gel and HA, producing injectable hydrogels, are able to induce a particular phenotype of encapsulated human mesenchymal stem cells without the need for growth factors. While pure Gel allowed good cell adhesion without remarkable differentiation and pure HA triggered chondrogenic differentiation without cell spreading, the hybrids, especially those rich in HA, promoted chondrogenic differentiation as well as cell proliferation and adhesion. Secretion of chondrogenic markers such as aggrecan, SOX-9, collagen type II, and glycosaminoglycans was observed, whereas osteogenic, myogenic, and adipogenic markers (RUNX2, sarcomeric myosin, and lipoproteinlipase, respectively) were not present after 2 weeks in the growth medium. The most promising matrix for chondrogenesis seems to be a mixture containing 70% HA and 30% Gel as it is the material with the best mechanical properties from all compositions tested here, and at the same time, it provides an environment suitable for balanced cell adhesion and chondrogenic differentiation. Thus, it represents a system that has a high potential to be used as the injectable material for cartilage regeneration therapies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)