Biological performance of cell-encapsulated methacrylated gellan gum-based hydrogels for nucleus pulposus regeneration

Roman Tsaryk, Joana Silva-Correia, Joaquim Miguel Oliveira, Ronald E. Unger, Constantin Landes, Christoph Brochhausen, Shahram Ghanaati, Rui L. Reis, C. James Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Limitations of current treatments for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration have promoted interest in the development of tissue-engineering approaches. Injectable hydrogels loaded with cells can be used as a substitute material for the inner IVD part, the nucleus pulposus (NP), and provide an opportunity for minimally invasive treatment of IVD degeneration. The NP is populated by chondrocyte-like cells; therefore, chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), stimulated to differentiate along the chondrogenic lineage, could be used to promote NP regeneration. In this study, the in vitro and in vivo response of human bone marrow-derived MSCs and nasal chondrocytes (NCs) to modified gellan gum-based hydrogels was investigated. Both ionic- (iGG–MA) and photo-crosslinked (phGG–MA) methacrylated gellan gum hydrogels show no cytotoxicity in extraction assays with MSCs and NCs. Furthermore, the materials do not induce pro-inflammatory responses in endothelial cells. Moreover, MSCs and NCs can be encapsulated into the hydrogels and remain viable for at least 2 weeks, although apoptosis is observed in phGG–MA. Importantly, encapsulated MSCs and NCs show signs of in vivo chondrogenesis in a subcutaneous implantation of iGG–MA. Altogether, the data endorse the potential use of modified gellan gum-based hydrogel as a suitable material in NP tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • gellan gum
  • hydrogel
  • intervertebral disc
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • nasal chondrocytes
  • nucleus pulposus


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