Silica-gelatin hybrids with tailorable degradation and mechanical properties for tissue regeneration
Mahony O., Tsigkou O., Ionescu C., Minelli C., Ling L., Hanly R., Smith ME., Stevens MM., Jones JR.
Nature has evolved mechanisms to create a diversity of specialized materials through nanoscale organization. Inspired by nature, hybrid materials are designed with highly tailorable properties, which are achieved through careful control of their nanoscale interactions. These novel materials, based on a silica-gelatin hybrid system, have the potential to serve as a platform technology for human tissue regeneration. Covalent interactions between the inorganic and organic constituents of the hybrid are essential to enable the precise control of mechanical and dissolution properties. Furthermore, hybrid scaffold porosity is found to highly influence mechanical properties, to the extent where scaffolds of particular strength could be specified based on their porosity. The hybrids also demonstrate a non-cytotoxic effect when mesenchymal stem cells are cultured on the material. Cytoskeletal proteins of the cells are imaged using actin and vimentin staining. It is envisaged these hybrid materials will find a diverse application in both hard and soft tissue regenerating scaffolds. Utilizing the enhanced properties of hybrid materials, novel silica-gelatin hybrids are synthesized and formed into macroporous scaffolds (imaged here with X-ray micro-computed tomography). These scaffolds demonstrate great promise in the field of tissue regeneration as the mechanical and dissolution properties can be carefully tailored for the intended application and studies with mesenchymal stem cells show a favorable response to the hybrids. Copyright © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.