Structured nanofilms comprising Laponite® and bone extracellular matrix for osteogenic differentiation of skeletal progenitor cells

Daheui Choi, Jiwoong Heo, Juan Aviles Milan, Richard O.C. Oreffo, Jonathan I. Dawson, Jinkee Hong, Yang Hee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functionalized scaffolds hold promise for stem cell therapy by controlling stem cell fate and differentiation potential. Here, we have examined the potential of a 2-dimensional (2D) scaffold to stimulate bone regeneration. Solubilized extracellular matrix (ECM) from human bone tissue contains native extracellular cues for human skeletal cells that facilitate osteogenic differentiation. However, human bone ECM displays limited mechanical strength and degradation stability under physiological conditions, necessitating modification of the physical properties of ECM before it can be considered for tissue engineering applications. To increase the mechanical stability of ECM, we explored the potential of synthetic Laponite® (LAP) clay as a counter material to prepare a 2D scaffold using Layer-by-Layer (LbL) self-assembly. The LAP and ECM multilayer nanofilms (ECM/LAP film) were successfully generated through electrostatic and protein–clay interactions. Furthermore, to enhance the mechanical properties of the ECM/LAP film, application of a NaCl solution wash step, instead of deionized water following LAP deposition resulted in the generation of stable, multi-stacked LAP layers which displayed enhanced mechanical properties able to sustain human skeletal progenitor cell growth. The ECM/LAP films were not cytotoxic and, critically, showed enhanced osteogenic differentiation potential as a consequence of the synergistic effects of ECM and LAP. In summary, we demonstrate the fabrication of a novel ECM/LAP nanofilm layer material with potential application in hard tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111440
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the UK-Korea Partnering Award funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) (grant number MC_PC_18015 ), Jonathan Dawson's UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ( EPSRC) fellowship (grant number EP/L010259/1 ), and RO's UK Regenerative Medicine Platform Acellular / Smart Materials – 3D Architecture ( MR/R015651/1 ). And this research was also supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare , Republic of Korea ( HI18C2021 ), and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT ( NRF-2017R1E1A1A01074343 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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