High-Strength Hydrogel Attachment through Nanofibrous Reinforcement

Adv Healthc Mater. 2021 Feb;10(4):e2001119. doi: 10.1002/adhm.202001119. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


The repair of a cartilage lesion with a hydrogel requires a method for long-term fixation of the hydrogel in the defect site. Attachment of a hydrogel to a base that allows for integration with bone can enable long-term fixation of the hydrogel, but current methods of forming bonds to hydrogels have less than a tenth of the shear strength of the osteochondral junction. This communication describes a new method, nanofiber-enhanced sticking (NEST), for bonding a hydrogel to a base with an adhesive shear strength three times larger than the state-of-the-art. An example of NEST is described in which a nanofibrous bacterial cellulose sheet is bonded to a porous base with a hydroxyapatite-forming cement followed by infiltration of the nanofibrous sheet with hydrogel-forming polymeric materials. This approach creates a mineralized nanofiber bond that mimics the structure of the osteochondral junction, in which collagen nanofibers extend from cartilage into a mineralized region that anchors cartilage to bone.

Keywords: bacterial cellulose; cartilage; hydrogels; shear strength; α-tricalcium phosphate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones
  • Cartilage
  • Hydrogels*
  • Nanofibers*
  • Porosity
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Hydrogels