Incorporating β-cyclodextrin into collagen scaffolds to sequester growth factors and modulate mesenchymal stem cell activity

William K. Grier, Aleczandria S. Tiffany, Matthew D. Ramsey, Brendan A.C. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of biomaterials for a range of tissue engineering applications increasingly requires control over the bioavailability of biomolecular cues such as growth factors in order to promote desired cell responses. While efforts have predominantly concentrated on covalently-bound or freely-diffusible incorporation of biomolecules in porous, three-dimensional biomaterials, opportunities exist to exploit transient interactions to concentrate growth factor activity over desired time frames. Here, we report the incorporation of β-cyclodextrin into a model collagen-GAG scaffold as a means to exploit the passive sequestration and release of growth factors via guest-host interactions to control mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Collagen-GAG scaffolds that incorporate β-cyclodextrin show improved sequestration as well as extended retention and release of TGF-β1. We further show extended retention and release of TGF-β1 and BMP-2 from β-cyclodextrin modified scaffolds was sufficient to influence the metabolic activity and proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells as well as differential activation of Smad 2/3 and Smad 1/5/8 pathways associated with differential osteo-chondral differentiation. Further, gene expression analysis showed TGF-β1 release from β-cyclodextrin CG scaffolds promoted early chondrogenic-specific differentiation. Ultimately, this work establishes a novel method for the incorporation and display of growth factors within CG scaffolds via supramolecular interactions. Such a design framework offers opportunities to selectively alter the bioavailability of multiple biomolecules within a three-dimensional collagen-GAG scaffold to enhance cell activity for a range of musculoskeletal regenerative medicine applications. Statement of Significance: We describe the incorporation of β-cyclodextrin into a model CG-scaffold under development for musculoskeletal tissue engineering applications. We show β-cyclodextrin modified scaffolds promote the sequestration of soluble TGF-β1 and BMP-2 via guest-host interactions, leading to extended retention and release. Further, β-cyclodextrin modified CG scaffolds promote TGF-β1 or BMP-2 specific Smad signaling pathway activation associated with divergent osseous versus chondrogenic differentiation pathways in mesenchymal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Beta-cyclodextrin
  • Collagen scaffold
  • Growth factors
  • Guest-host interactions
  • Mesenchymal stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology

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