Over the last few decades, stem cell therapies have been highlighted for their potential to heal damaged tissue and aid in tissue reconstruction. However, materials used to deliver and support implanted cells often display limited efficacy, which has resulted in delaying translation of stem cell therapies into the clinic. In our previous work, we developed a mussel-inspired, catechol-functionalized hyaluronic acid (HA-CA) hydrogel that enabled effective cell transplantation due to its improved biocompatibility and strong tissue adhesiveness. The present study was performed to further expand the utility of HA-CA hydrogels for use in stem cell therapies to treat more clinically relevant tissue defect models. Specifically, we utilized HA-CA hydrogels to potentiate stem cell-mediated angiogenesis and osteogenesis in two tissue defect models: critical limb ischemia and critical-sized calvarial bone defect. HA-CA hydrogels were found to be less cytotoxic to human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) in vitro compared to conventional photopolymerized HA hydrogels. HA-CA hydrogels also retained the angiogenic functionality of hADSCs and supported osteogenic differentiation of hADSCs. Because of their superior tissue adhesiveness, HA-CA hydrogels were able to mediate efficient engraftment of hADSCs into the defect regions. When compared to photopolymerized HA hydrogels, HA-CA hydrogels significantly enhanced hADSC-mediated therapeutic angiogenesis (promoted capillary/arteriole formation, improved vascular perfusion, attenuated ischemic muscle degeneration/fibrosis, and reduced limb amputation) and bone reconstruction (mineralized bone formation, enhanced osteogenic marker expression, and collagen deposition). This study proves the feasibility of using bioinspired HA-CA hydrogels as functional biomaterials for improved tissue regeneration in critical tissue defects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry