Extensive efforts have been made to prepare osteoconductive collagen gels for the regeneration of normal bone and the pathological examination of diseased bone; however, collagen gels are often plagued by limited controllability of their rigidity and mineral deposition. This study reports a simple but efficient strategy that tunes the mechanical properties of, and apatite formation in, collagen gels by incorporating hydrolyzable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles within the gels. The PLGA microparticles are associated with the collagen fibrils and increased both the gel's elasticity and rigidity while minimally influencing its permeability. As compared with pure collagen gels, the PLGA microparticle-filled collagen gels, termed PLGA-Col hydrogels, significantly enhanced the deposition of apatite-like minerals within the gels when incubated in simulated body fluid or encapsulated with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) undergoing osteogenic differentiation. Finally, PLGA-Col hydrogels mineralized by differentiated MSCs led to an enhanced formation of bone-like tissues within the hydrogels. Overall, the PLGA-Col hydrogel system developed in this study will serve to improve the quality of osteoconductive matrices for both fundamental and clinical studies that are relevant to bone repair, regeneration, and pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering