One step closer to artificial cartilage. Hydrogels show signs of triggering bone marrow stem cells to change into bone-like cells

Tough hydrogels are seen as possible candidate materials for artificial cartilage, which could especially benefit elderly populations that suffer from degenerative cartilage loss. A team of researchers from ICReDD and Hokkaido University and have demonstrated that a HAp/DN hydrogel that can bind to bone shows signs of triggering bone marrow stem cells to change into osteogenic cells.

Researchers were able to establish a method of culturing stem cells harvested from rabbit bone marrow, and then evaluated the effect the HAp/DN hydrogel on stem cell differentiation. By evaluating RNA expression of 8 osteogenic cell markers, researchers found evidence suggesting that the HAp/DN hydrogel can cause bone marrow stems cells to differentiate into osteogenic cells, which are precursors to various types of bone tissue cells. This study provides additional evidence showing the promise of hydrogels as potential artificial cartilage.

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