The design of bone scaffolds is predominately aimed to well reproduce the natural bony environment by imitating the architecture/composition of host bone. Such biomimetic biomaterials are gaining increasing attention and acknowledged quite promising for bone tissue engineering. Herein, novel biomimetic bone scaffolds containing decellularized small intestinal submucosa matrix (SIS-ECM) and Sr2+/Fe3+ co-doped hydroxyapatite (SrFeHA) are fabricated for the first time by the sophisticated self-assembled mineralization procedure, followed by cross-linking and lyophilization post-treatments. The results indicate the constructed SIS/SrFeHA scaffolds are characterized by highly porous structures, rough microsurface and improved mechanical strength, as well as efficient releasing of bioactive Sr2+/Fe3+ and ECM components. These favorable physico-chemical properties endow SIS/SrFeHA scaffolds with an architectural/componential biomimetic bony environment which appears to be highly beneficial for inducing angiogenesis/osteogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. In particular, the cellular functionality and bioactivity of endotheliocytes/osteoblasts are significantly enhanced by SIS/SrFeHA scaffolds, and the cranial defects model further verifies the potent ability of SIS/SrFeHA to accelerate in vivo vascularization and bone regeneration following implantation. In this view these results highlight the considerable angiogenesis/osteogenesis potential of biomimetic porous SIS/SrFeHA scaffolds for inducing bone regeneration and thus may afford a new promising alternative for bone tissue engineering.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have garnered growing attention as promising acellular tools for bone repair. Although EVs’ potential for bone regeneration has been shown, issues associated with their therapeutic potency and short half-life in vivo hinders their clinical utility. Epigenetic reprogramming with the histone deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA) has been reported to promote the osteoinductive potency of osteoblast-derived EVs. Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels functionalised with the synthetic nanoclay laponite (LAP) have been shown to effectively bind, stabilise, and improve the retention of bioactive factors. This study investigated the potential of utilising a GelMA-LAP hydrogel to improve local retention and control delivery of epigenetically enhanced osteoblast-derived EVs as a novel bone repair strategy. LAP was found to elicit a dose-dependent increase in GelMA compressive modulus and shear-thinning properties. Incorporation of the nanoclay was also found to enhance shape fidelity when 3D printed compared to LAP-free gels. Interestingly, GelMA hydrogels containing LAP displayed increased mineralisation capacity (1.41-fold) (p ≤ 0.01) over 14 days. EV release kinetics from these nanocomposite systems were also strongly influenced by LAP concentration with significantly more vesicles being released from GelMA constructs as detected by a CD63 ELISA (p ≤ 0.001). EVs derived from TSA-treated osteoblasts (TSA-EVs) enhanced proliferation (1.09-fold), migration (1.83-fold), histone acetylation (1.32-fold) and mineralisation (1.87-fold) of human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) when released from the GelMA-LAP hydrogel compared to the untreated EV gels (p ≤ 0.01). Importantly, the TSA-EV functionalised GelMA-LAP hydrogel significantly promoted encapsulated hBMSCs extracellular matrix collagen production (≥1.3-fold) and mineralisation (≥1.78-fold) in a dose-dependent manner compared to untreated EV constructs (p ≤ 0.001). Taken together, these findings demonstrate the potential of combining epigenetically enhanced osteoblast-derived EVs with a nanocomposite photocurable hydrogel to promote the therapeutic efficacy of acellular vesicle approaches for bone regeneration.
Titanium alloy has been widely used in orthopedic surgeries as bone defect filling. However, the regeneration of high-quality new bones is limited due to the pro-inflammatory microenvironment around implants, resulting in a high occurrence rate of implant loosening or failure in osteological therapy. In this study, extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimetic polysaccharide hydrogel co-delivering BMP-2 and IL-4 was composited with 3D printed titanium alloy to promote the osseointegration and regulate macrophage response to create a pro-healing microenvironment in bone defect. Notably, it is discovered from the bioinformatics data that IL-4 and BMP-2 could affect each other through multiple signal pathways to achieve a synergistic effect towards osteogenesis. The composite scaffold significantly promoted the osteoblast differentiation and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchyme stem cells (hBMSCs). The repair of large-scale femur defect in rat indicated that the dual-cytokine-delivered composite scaffold could manipulate a lower inflammatory level in situ by polarizing macrophages to M2 phenotype, resulting in superior efficacy of mature new bone regeneration over the treatment of native titanium alloy or that with an individual cytokine. Collectively, this work highlights the importance of M2-type macrophages-enriched immune-environment in bone healing. The biomimetic hydrogel-metal implant composite is a versatile and advanced scaffold for accelerating in vivo bone regeneration, holding great promise in treating orthopedic diseases.