(685c) Biocompatible Nanocomposite Hydrogels for Stem Cell Differentation | AIChE

(685c) Biocompatible Nanocomposite Hydrogels for Stem Cell Differentation

Authors 

Chang, C. J. - Presenter, University Of California, San Diego
Zhang, C. - Presenter, University Of California, San Diego


Hydrogels, polymer networks imbibing large quantities of water, have been considered as excellent matrices for stem cell engineering because of their efficient mass transfer properties and tunable structural properties. Despite their advantages, the widespread use of hydrogels as an ideal matrix is limited due to their poor mechanical properties/brittle and non-adhesive nature. In this study, we have used concepts from polymer nanocomposite technology to create nanocomposite hydrogels. The incorporation of nano-sized inorganic moieties significantly improved the overall mechanical properties of the PEG hydrogels. It was observed that the swelling ratio of the nanocomposite hydrogels decreases with increasing clay content; yet nanocomposite hydrogels contain comparable or higher water content than their counterparts without any clay component. Additionally, the clay nanoparticles could serve as sites for the adhesion of stem cells. Our initial studies employing these hydrogels for stem cell encapsulation indicates that these nanocomposite hydrogels regulate stem cell differentiation and do not have any detrimental effect on cells. This study presents a new robust synthetic hydrogel that holds considerable potential for stem cell based tissue engineering applications.