Injectable laminin-functionalized hydrogel for nucleus pulposus regeneration

Aubrey T. Francisco, Robert J. Mancino, Robby D. Bowles, Jonathan M. Brunger, David M. Tainter, Yi Te Chen, William J. Richardson, Farshid Guilak, Lori A. Setton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Cell delivery to the pathological intervertebral disc (IVD) has significant therapeutic potential for enhancing IVD regeneration. The development of injectable biomaterials that retain delivered cells, promote cell survival, and maintain or promote an NP cell phenotype invivo remains a significant challenge. Previous studies have demonstrated NP cell - laminin interactions in the nucleus pulposus (NP) region of the IVD that promote cell attachment and biosynthesis. These findings suggest that incorporating laminin ligands into carriers for cell delivery may be beneficial for promoting NP cell survival and phenotype. Here, an injectable, laminin-111 functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-LM111) hydrogel was developed as a biomaterial carrier for cell delivery to the IVD. We evaluated the mechanical properties of the PEG-LM111 hydrogel, and its ability to retain delivered cells in the IVD space. Gelation occurred in approximately 20min without an initiator, with dynamic shear moduli in the range of 0.9-1.4kPa. Primary NP cell retention in cultured IVD explants was significantly higher over 14 days when cells were delivered within a PEG-LM111 carrier, as compared to cells in liquid suspension. Together, these results suggest this injectable laminin-functionalized biomaterial may be an easy to use carrier for delivering cells to the IVD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7381-7388
Number of pages8
Issue number30
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Injectable
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Laminin
  • Nucleus pulposus
  • Organ culture
  • Polyethylene glycol


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