Development of Gellan-Gum based Microparticles/Hydrogel Matrices for Application in the Intervertebral Disc Regeneration

last updated: 2013-10-30
TitleDevelopment of Gellan-Gum based Microparticles/Hydrogel Matrices for Application in the Intervertebral Disc Regeneration
Publication TypePapers in Scientific Journals
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPereira D. R., Silva-Correia J., Caridade S. G., Oliveira J. T., Sousa R. A., Salgado A. J., Oliveira J. M., Mano J. F., Sousa N., and Reis R. L.

Low back pain is one of the most reported medical conditions associated to intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. Nucleus pulposus (NP) is often regarded as the structure where IVD degeneration begins. Gellan gum (GG)-based hydrogels for acellular and cellular tissue engineering strategies have been developed for finding applications as NP substitutes. The innovative strategy is based on the reinforcement of the hydrogel matrix with biocompatible and biodegradable GG microparticles (MPs), which are expected to improve the mechanical properties, while allowing to tailor its degradation rate. In this study, several GG MP/hydrogel disc formulations were prepared by means of mixing high acyl GG (0.75% (w/v)) and low acyl GG (2% (w/v)) GG aqueous solutions at different ratios, namely, 75%:25% (v/v), 50%:50% (v/v), and 25%:75% (v/v), respectively. The GG MP size was measured using a stereo microscope, and their dispersion within the hydrogel matrix was evaluated by means of staining the MPs with Toluidine Blue-O. The developed GG MPs/hydrogel discs were physicochemically characterized by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The swelling behavior and degradation rate were assessed by immersion in a phosphate buffer saline for 14 days. The morphology and mechanical behavior were investigated by scanning electron microscopy and dynamic mechanical analysis, respectively. The mechanical properties of the hydrogel disc were improved by mixing the gels with the MPs. In addition, the possible cytotoxicity of the leachables released by MPs/hydrogel discs was screened in vitro, using a mouse lung fibroblast cell line (L929 cells). To investigate the encapsulation efficacy of L929 cells into the GG MPs/hydrogel discs, cells were stained with DAPI blue/Texas Red-Phalloidin and observed by confocal microscopy, after 24, 48, and 72 h of culturing. A cell viability assay was also performed using Calcein AM staining. The cell culture studies demonstrated that MPs/hydrogel discs are noncytotoxic over L929 cells. It was also demonstrated that L929 cells can be successfully encapsulated into the GG MPs of different formulations, remaining viable after 72 h of culturing. This study showed that GG hydrogel matrices reinforced with cell-loaded MPs could be a candidate strategy for NP regeneration.

JournalTissue Engineering Part C: Methods
Date Published2011-10-19
KeywordsGellan Gum, IVD, microparticles, NP
Peer reviewedyes

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