Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Life Sciences

High Strength Gel That Spontaneously Bonds Strongly with Bone Tissue

Development of a safe, high-strength bonding method between wet materials and bone, which has been difficult to achieve so far, by utilizing bone healing in living organisms

In answer to the issue of in vivo fixation by applying the much anticipated high-strength hydrogel as a next-generation artificial cartilage or cartilage tissue regeneration scaffold material, we have developed a simple, non-toxic, high-strength adhesion method using hydroxyapatite, an inorganic component of bone tissue.

Content of research

The high-strength, high-toughness double-network gel (DN gel) previously developed by our group has excellent properties such as low wear on cartilage and induction of cartilage tissue regeneration in a natural joint, and is being studied for application as an artificial cartilage material and cartilage regeneration induction material. On the other hand, it is difficult to fix and maintain such a gel in a natural joint, which has been a major issue with the practical use of this material. In this study, we developed a fixation method that allows bone tissue regeneration to progress spontaneously into the gel and adhere firmly by compounding hydroxyapatite (HAp), the main inorganic component of bone tissue, to the surface layer of the DN gel. In addition to excellent mechanical properties and cartilage regeneration ability, the realization of non-toxic in vivo adhesion to bone is a great step forward toward the practical application of DN gel for joint treatment.

  • Fig. 1 DN gel and HAp-coated DN gel

  • Fig. 2 Implantation in a rabbit joint and the CT image

Potential for social implementation

  • ・High-strength adhesion of artificial cartilage and cartilage tissue-regenerating hydrogel to bone tissue.
  • ・Adhesion of connective tissue (ligament and tendon) replacement materials to bone tissue

Appealing points to industry and local governments

Amidst accelerated research on the application of hydrogel, which has similar properties as actual cartilage tissue when compared with current artificial joints, a long-anticipated safe and simple in vivo fixation method using the gel has been developed. In the present “100-year life expectancy era,” arthritis is an unavoidable disease for all elderly people, and this next-generation cartilage treatment method is expected to be in high demand in the future.