In a recently published study, researchers from the University of Connecticut have developed a biomimetic injectable hydrogel using amnion membrane (AM) which can self-assemble in situ and retain the stem cells at the target site.
The researchers evaluated the hydrogel and its efficacy in intraarticular injections, using a rat model. The hydrogel was evaluated with and without adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), and its efficacy in reducing inflammation and cartilage degeneration.
The system was developed to overcome some challenges of stem cell therapies, including long-term survival/retention and cellular distribution following injection to a target site.
These AM hydrogels supported cellular functionalities such as cell viability, proliferation, and stemness. The study showed that the ability of both AM hydrogels and AM hydrogel with ADSC combinations provide immunomodulatory and chondroprotective environments in the in vitro model.
AM is the innermost layer of placental tissue which is easily accessible and includes collages, fibronectin, laminim, proteoglycans and hyaluronan.
Osteoarthritis was induced in rats, and a week after they were treated with control (phosphate-buffered saline), ADSCs, AM gel, and AM-ADSCs. Both AM and ADSC demonstrated the potential to foster cartilage tissue regeneration, and a synergistic antiinflammatory and chondroprotective effect to regenerate cartilage tissue in the rat model used by the researchers.
According to the researchers their study demonstrated the feasibility of using a biomimetic hydrogel as a delivery system to attenuate osteoarthritis and regenerate cartilage tissue. They found that it had a synergistic effect when combined with ADSCs.
Maumita Bhattacharjee, et al. Injectable amnion hydrogel-mediated delivery of adipose-derived stem cells for osteoarthritis treatment. PNAS. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2120968119