Microporous methacrylated glycol chitosan-montmorillonite nanocomposite hydrogel for bone tissue engineering

Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 6;10(1):3523. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11511-3.


Injectable hydrogels can fill irregular defects and promote in situ tissue regrowth and regeneration. The ability of directing stem cell differentiation in a three-dimensional microenvironment for bone regeneration remains a challenge. In this study, we successfully nanoengineer an interconnected microporous networked photocrosslinkable chitosan in situ-forming hydrogel by introducing two-dimensional nanoclay particles with intercalation chemistry. The presence of the nanosilicates increases the Young's modulus and stalls the degradation rate of the resulting hydrogels. We demonstrate that the reinforced hydrogels promote the proliferation as well as the attachment and induced the differentiation of encapsulated mesenchymal stem cells in vitro. Furthermore, we explore the effects of nanoengineered hydrogels in vivo with the critical-sized mouse calvarial defect model. Our results confirm that chitosan-montmorillonite hydrogels are able to recruit native cells and promote calvarial healing without delivery of additional therapeutic agents or stem cells, indicating their tissue engineering potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bentonite / administration & dosage
  • Bentonite / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / administration & dosage
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Bone Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Chitosan / administration & dosage
  • Chitosan / chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / administration & dosage*
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Mice
  • Nanocomposites / administration & dosage*
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Skull / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull / drug effects
  • Skull / injuries
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels
  • glycol-chitosan
  • Bentonite
  • Chitosan