Hydrogel nanosheets confined 2D rhombic ice: a new platform enhancing chondrogenesis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Nanoconfinement within flexible interfaces is a key step towards exploiting confinement effects in several biological and technological systems wherein flexible 2D materials are frequently utilized but are arduous to prepare. Hitherto unreported, the synthesis of 2D hydrogel nanosheets (HNSs) using a template- and catalyst-free process is developed representing a fertile ground for fundamental structure-property investigations. In due course of time, nucleating folds propagating along the edges trigger co-operative deformations of HNS generating regions of nanoconfinement within trapped water islands. These severely constricting surfaces force water molecules to pack within the nanoscale regime of HNS almost parallel to the surface bringing about phase transition into puckered rhombic ice with AA and AB Bernal stacking pattern, which was mostly restricted to molecular dynamics studies so far. Interestingly, under high lateral pressure and spatial inhomogeneity within nanoscale confinement, bilayer rhombic ice structures were formed with an in-plane lattice spacing of 0.31 nm. In this work, a systematic exploration of rhombic ice formation within HNS has been delineated using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and its ultrathin morphology was examined using atomic force microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed high porosity while mechanical testing presented young's modulus of 155 kPa with ∼84% deformation, whereas contact angle suggested high hydrophilicity. The combinations of nanosheets, porosity, nanoconfinement, hydrophilicity, and mechanical strength, motivated us to explore their application as a scaffold for cartilage regeneration, by inducing chondrogenesis of human Wharton Jelly derived mesenchymal stem cells. HNS promoted the formation of cell aggregates giving higher number of spheroid formation and a marked expression of chondrogenic markers (ColI, ColII, ColX, ACAN and S-100), thereby providing some cues for guiding chondrogenic differentiation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Majood, M; Shakeel, A; Agarwal, A; Jeevanandham, S; Bhattacharya, R; Kochhar, D; Singh, A; Kalyanasundaram, D; Mohanty, S; Mukherjee, M

Published Date

  • September 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 6

PubMed ID

  • 36044885

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1748-605X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1748-6041

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/1748-605x/ac8e43


  • eng