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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gelatin clay hybrid nanocomposites for tissue engineering applications Hossain, Mohammad Towsif


Recent trends promote the replacement of synthetic polymer based hydrogel composites with different bio-polymer based composite due to superior biocompatibility and biodegradability. Again, some tissue engineering applications e.g. osteogenic diseases, stiff bio-polymer composite is required. Although, bone has splendid ability to heal itself after injury, there is still a space left to accelerate the healing process for non-union injuries. To address this problem, a novel gelatin based bio-nanocomposite material had been developed using ceramic particles found in clay minerals. Three different types of materials such as micro bentonite, nanosilica, and nanobentonite have been used in various concentration with gelatin hydrogel to increase its toughness. Micro bentonite did not interact with hydrogel chain whereas it was proved to be cell viable. Subsequently, nanosilica did increase the compressibility of the polymer but it was not compatible with the cells. Afterwards, nanobentonite was introduced. Nanobentonite is a smectite shaped ultra-thin nanomaterial. The nanobentonite was crosslinked with the gelatin hydrogel covalently to produce tunable physical and mechanical properties. Small amount of covalently bonded nanocomposite increased the elastic modulus of the gel by 6 folds and tensile stress by 10 folds. The nanoparticles also enhanced the pore size of the hydrogels which promoted the exchange of biomolecules in the matrices. The nanocomposite also amplified the cell adhesion, proliferation, and growth of NIH 3T3 fibroblast cells compared with the pristine gelatin hydrogel. Overall, the results of the nanocomposite showed promising improvement in terms of stiffness, porosity, cell viability which play vital role in the treatment of non-union bone defects.

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