Bone damage

Bone damage, due to trauma, sports-related injuries and congenital defects; has become a prime health problem all over the world. Present therapies, though moderately successful, do not provide optimal remedy to the orthopedic disorders. Bone tissue engineering (BTE) has gained significant attention to repair the bone-damage. In BTE, scaffold, cells and growth factors are the three most important components (called tissue engineering triad) for bone
Scaffold, a three dimensional architecture, should  compatible, hydrophilic, porous and biodegradable. The pores accommodate the cells to proliferate, and spread throughout the scaffold to make an integrated cell-scaffold construct. Without pore, cells will attach and proliferate on the surface of the scaffold only; which is not desirable for tissue engineering purposes.

Method of scaffold fabrication

Depending on the method of scaffold fabrication, some scaffolds may show low porosity. Further, depending on the material, some scaffolds may take long time for degradation, e.g., cellulose scaffold takes more than 2 years for degradation. Moreover, metallic scaffolds trespass the boarders of the conventional scaffold definition; are partially degradable or non-degradable scaffolds with low porosity.

Although various polymers and composites have  investigated for scaffold fabrication; but gelatin and alginate have received more attention by the researchers, due to their low cost and abundant availability. Gelatin contains Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) sequences, which are present in ECM. This helps in cell attachment and enhances cell proliferation, and makes it ideal for use in broad range of applications including bone tissue engineering.

Bone damage, due to congenital defects, trauma and sports-related injuries; has become a foremost health problem all over the world. The present study involves fabrication of a nanocomposite scaffold of graphene oxide (GO); gelatin and alginate; with an aim of enhancing bone regeneration. The effect of varying concentration of GO on the scaffold properties was also determined.

Compressive strength of the nanocomposite

The incorporation of GO enhanced the compressive strength of the nanocomposite scaffolds significantly compared to the gelatin-alginate (GA) scaffold which is without GO. High % swelling (~700%) of the nanocomposite scaffold indicates its high hydrophilicity, which is suitable for tissue engineering. Slow biodegradation (~30% in 28 days) indicates its suitability for bone regeneration.
In vitro studies, by seeding MG-63 cells over the nanocomposite scaffolds, revealed an enhancement in cell attachment and proliferation as compared to the GA scaffold: this indicates the positive effect of the GO on the scaffold properties which, in turn, can enhance bone regeneration.
Cell differentiation studies, with the mesenchymal stem cells seeded scaffolds, revealed higher expression of osteoblast transcription factors (Runx2 and Osteocalcin) and alkaline phosphatase activity―indicating the scaffold to be a good osteoinductive material. Thus, the nanocomposite scaffold will be a potential scaffold for bone tissue engineering.