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.
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