Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Researchers use clay to generate bone from mesenchymal stem cells

Synthetic silicates, which are composed of simple or complex salts of silicic acids, are used in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, including food additives, glass and ceramic filler materials, and anti-caking agents. Today, researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) announced another potential application, generating bone from stem cells. The BWH researchers have discovered that synthetic silicate nanoplatelets, also known as layered clay, can induce mesenchymal stem cells to become bone cells without the need of additional bone-inducing factors.

"With an aging population in the US, injuries and degenerative conditions are subsequently on the rise, as a result, there is an increased demand for therapies that can repair damaged tissues. In particular, there is a great need for new materials that can direct stem cell differentiation and facilitate functional tissue formation. Silicate nanoplatelets have the potential to address this need in medicine and biotechnology." said Ali Khademhosseini, senior study author.

According to Akhilesh Gaharwar, first author of the study, the synthetic silicate nanoplatelets can be used to develop devices such as injectable tissue repair matrixes, bioactive fillers, or therapeutic agents for stimulating specific cellular responses in bone-related tissue engineering.

"These findings underscore the potential applications of these silicate nanoplatelets in designing bioactive scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering." extract from the study

Related posts

Gaharwar, A., Mihaila, S., Swami, A., Patel, A., Sant, S., Reis, R., Marques, A., Gomes, M., & Khademhosseini, A. (2013). Bioactive Silicate Nanoplatelets for Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Advanced Materials DOI: 10.1002/adma.201300584


  1. The first instance of nanoclays and stem cell can be found in an article published prior to the above mentioned article:

    Avinash H. Ambre, Dinesh R. Katti, Kalpana S. Katti. Nanoclays mediate stem cell differentiation and mineralized ECM formation on biopolymer scaffolds. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.34561differentiation

  2. Both the article seems to be interesting. Here is another link which compares both of these articles:
    I think the article published by Gaharwar et al in Advanced Materials (IF~13.7) has more detailed investigation about the clay nano particles compared to the article published by Amber et al. in Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A (IF~2.6).

  3. Both articles may prove helpful to the field of bone regeneration. Article by Gaharwar is focused on effect of synthetic clays on hMSCs and their potential for bone regeneration. It does not involve their use in scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. The other article by Ambre seems to focus on use of MMT clays for making scaffolds based on tissue engineering.This study takes in to consideration difficulties in bone tissue engineering.

    Not sure about the impact factors these days...example consider this
    An improved technique for determining hardness and elastic modulus using load and displacement sensing indentation experiments
    W.C. Oliver and G.M. Pharr

    This article was published in Journal of Materials Research...(impact factor about 1.43) but with nearly 11000 citations

    Reading in journals articles phrases such as "for the first time" to emphasize the work always seems interesting..


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