Biomimetic hydrogels for tissue reconstruction

Luigi Ambrosio 1Paolo A. Netti 2

1. Institute of Composite & Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio, 80, Napoli 80125, Italy
2. Department of Materials & Production Engineering, University of Naples "Federico II" (DIMP-CRIB), Piazzale Tecchio, 80, Napoli 80125, Italy


One of the principal goals of the biomedical engineering is to design of biomaterials capable to replace, substitute or repair natural tissues. Over the past twenty years the research in this field has led to the formulation of novel highly compatible materials and to new methods to obtain materials of natural origin able to better interact with biological tissues. However, a major problem with these materials is that they do not reproduce the functional and biological properties of the natural tissues. An ideal biomaterial must possess a complete set of biophysical, structural and biological properties. Our approach to the design of novel biomaterials is inspired to nature guidelines to mimic the behavior of natural tissue. Following this approach we have been able to design prosthesis for dental implant, bone substitutes, intervertebral disc, ligaments, and scaffolds for tissue engineering.
Replication of the structure and the functions of the extracellular matrix in vitro is performed by forming a semi-Interpenetrated Polymer Network (s-IPN) between Collagen type I and Hyaluronic acid (Hyal)
The rheological behaviour of the semi-IPN collagen/HA have been analysed to evaluate the effect of Hyaluronic Acid and collagen in the composite gel. The presence of Hyaluronic Acid induces a reinforcement of the collagen network due to the Hyal interaction with collagen during fibrillogenesis. This is also confirmed by the electron micrographs which show that collagen fibres and HA are strongly interconnected and the collagen fibers network is fully developed despite the presence of the HA.
The effect of collagen scaffold properties such as stiffness and morphology on the cellular processes of growth, migration and remodelling that occur within 3D polymer matrices have been analysed. The results indicate that is possible in principle to control cell growth and migration by modulating the physical properties of the material.


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Presentation: invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2003, Symposium E, by Luigi Ambrosio
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2003

Submitted: 2003-05-23 11:55
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55