A comparison of cryogel scaffolds to identify an appropriate structure for promoting bone regeneration

K. R. Hixon, C. T. Eberlin, P. U. Kadakia, S. H. McBride-Gagyi, E. Jain, S. A. Sell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


To create an ideal graft substitute for regenerating bone, the scaffold should possess osteoconductive, osteoinductive, and osteogenic properties. Hydrogels areavery common scaffold, but the mechanical integrity and nanoporous structure are not advantageous for bone regeneration. Cryogelation is a techniqueinwhich the controlled freezing and thawing of a polymer createsaspongy, macroporous structure with ideal structural characteristics and promising mechanical stability. Hydrogels and cryogels of three different materials (chitosan-gelatin, N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone, and silk fibroin (SF)) were compared to assess the optimal material and form of scaffold for this application. Cryogel and hydrogel structures were tested in parallel to evaluate porosity, swelling, mechanical integrity, cellular infiltration, and mineralization potential. Cryogels proved superior to hydrogels based on swelling potential and mechanical properties. Among the cryogels,SFdemonstrated high pore diameter and area, mineralization upon cellular infiltration, and the largest presence of osteocalcin, a marker of bone formation. These results demonstrate the practicality of cryogels for a bone regeneration application and identify SF as a potential material choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035014
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone regeneration
  • Cryogel
  • Hydrogel
  • Scaffold
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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