Modification of gellan gum with nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite facilitates cell expansion and spontaneous osteogenesis

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Nanocomposites composed of hydrogels and calcium phosphates are of great interest in the development of bone graft replacements since they may have a structural and compositional resemblance to bone. Culture beads formed from such materials could be used in stirred tank culture and thereby enable cell expansion in a sufficiently efficient manner to allow for the generation of enough large number of cells for large-scale bone reconstruction. Although combinations of materials such as alginate, collagens, and various calcium phosphates have been investigated as culture beads, these materials are unsuitable for application since they have been shown to rapidly degrade in physiological conditions and enable relatively little tailoring of mechanical properties. In this study, gellan gum-nano sized hydroxyapatite (nHA) composites, which have been shown to be resistant to degradation and easily modified with respect to modulus, were formulated and characterized as regards their ability to enable cell attachment and proliferation. It was shown that the addition of 5wt% of nHA to the culture beads enabled cell attachment and that an increase in nHA concentration to up to 25wt% enhanced the rate of cell proliferation. Most importantly, it was demonstrated that the addition of nHA to the cell culture beads enabled the formation of nodules in culture of MC3T3-E1 cells and strikingly stimulated the osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells in the absence of osteogenic media when compared with tissue culture plastic (TCP) with the same condition.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Early online date9 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Feb 2016


  • Cell attachment, Differentiation, Gellan gum-hydroxyapatite, Nano-composite, Osteogenesis, Spinner flask