Biomaterials Translational ›› 2022, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (3): 213-220.doi: 10.12336/biomatertransl.2022.03.005

• RESEARCH ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Osteogenic differentiation of encapsulated cells in dexamethasone–loaded phospholipid–induced silk fibroin hydrogels

Chavee Laomeephol1,2, Helena Ferreira3,4, Sorada Kanokpanont2,5,6, Jittima Amie Luckanagul1,7, Nuno M Neves3,4, Siriporn Damrongsakkul2,5,6,*()   

  1. 1 Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
    2 Biomaterial Engineering for Medical and Health Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
    3 3B’s Research Group, I3Bs – Research Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Guimarães, Portugal
    4 ICVS/3B’s – PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
    5 Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
    6 Biomedical Engineering Research Center, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
    7 Center of Excellence in Plant–produced Pharmaceuticals, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Received:2022-08-02 Revised:2022-09-06 Accepted:2022-09-16 Online:2022-09-28 Published:2022-09-28
  • Contact: Siriporn Damrongsakkul E-mail:Siriporn.D@chula.ac.th
  • About author:Siriporn Damrongsakkul, Siriporn.D@chula.ac.th.


The tissue engineering triad comprises the combination of cells, scaffolds and biological factors. Therefore, we prepared cell– and drug–loaded hydrogels using in situ silk fibroin (SF) hydrogels induced by dimyristoyl glycerophosphoglycerol (DMPG). DMPG is reported to induce rapid hydrogel formation by SF, facilitating cell encapsulation in the hydrogel matrix while maintaining high cell viability and proliferative capacity. In addition, DMPG can be used for liposome formulations in entrapping drug molecules. Dexamethasone (Dex) was loaded into the DMPG–induced SF hydrogels together with human osteoblast–like SaOS–2 cells, then the osteogenic differentiation of the entrapped cells was evaluated in vitro and compared to cells cultured under standard conditions. Calcium production by cells cultured in DMPG/Dex–SF hydrogels with Dex–depleted osteogenic medium was equivalent to that of cells cultured in conventional osteogenic medium containing Dex. The extended–release of the entrapped Dex by the hydrogels was able to provide a sufficient drug amount for osteogenic induction. The controlled release of Dex was also advantageous for cell viability even though its dose in the hydrogels was far higher than that in osteogenic medium. The results confirmed the possibility of using DMPG–induced SF hydrogels to enable dual cell and drug encapsulation to fulfil the practical applications of tissue–engineered constructs.

Key words: DMPG, osteogenic differentiation, silk fibroin, three–dimensional cell culture, tissue engineering