Editors' ChoiceBiomaterials

Separating chemistry from mechanics

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Science  31 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6332, pp. 1387-1388
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6332.1387-c

Hydrogels based on hyaluronic acid (HA), a major component of cartilage extracellular matrix, are a logical choice for making injectable matrices for cartilage regeneration. However, when one changes the concentration of HA, and thus the chemical cues presented to the cell, this also changes the mechanics of the gels, and both factors influence cell proliferation. Zhu et al. used a modified elastin-like protein to form a gel with HA so that the concentration of HA could be adjusted without affecting the gel stiffness. With increasing HA, they found a dose-dependent increase in cartilage marker gene expression and enhanced sGAG deposition, with minimized undesirable fibrocartilage characteristics.

Biomaterials 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.02.010 (2017).

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