Bioimpacts. 2022;12: 57-64.
doi: 10.34172/bi.2021.23831
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Original Research

Designing robust chitosan-based hydrogels for stem cell nesting under oxidative stress

Zahra Olfat Noubari 1 ORCID logo, Asal Golchin 1, Marziyeh Fathi 1* ORCID logo, Ailar Nakhlband 2,1* ORCID logo

1 Research Center for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Biomedicine Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
*Corresponding Authors: Corresponding authors: Marziyeh Fathi, fathi.marziyeh@yahoo.com; fathim@tbzmed.ac.ir; Ailar Nakhlband, ailarnakhlband@yahoo.com, Email: fathi.marziyeh@yahoo.com; Email: ailarnakhlband@yahoo.com


Introduction: Hydrogels are unique candidates for a wide range of biomedical applications including drug delivery and tissue engineering. The present investigation was designed to consider the impact of chitosan-based hydrogels as a scaffold on the proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) besides neutralization of oxidative stress in hBM-MSCs.
Methods: Chitosan (CS) and CS-gelatin hydrogels were fabricated through ionic crosslinking using β-glycerophosphate. The hBM-MSCs were cultured on the prepared matrices and their proliferation was evaluated using DAPI staining and MTT assay. Furthermore, the effect of hydrogels on oxidative stress was assessed by measuring the expression of NQO1, Nrf2, and HO-1 genes using real-time PCR.
Results: The developed hydrogels indicated a porous structure with high water content. The toxicity studies showed that the prepared hydrogels have a high biocompatibility/cytocompatibility. The expression of intracellular antioxidant genes was studied to ensure that stress is not imposed by the scaffold on the nested cells. The results showed that Nrf2 as a super transcription factor of antioxidant genes and its downstream antioxidant gene, NQO1 were downregulated. Unexpectedly, the upregulation of HO-1 was detected in the current study.
Conclusion: The prepared CS-based hydrogels with desired properties including porous structure, high swelling ability, and cytocompatibility did not show oxidative stress for the nesting of stem cells. Therefore, they could be attractive scaffolds to support stem cells for successful tissue engineering purposes.
Keywords: Hydrogel, Chitosan, Mesenchymal stem cells, Oxidative stress, Gene expression, Tissue engineering
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Submitted: 12 May 2021
Revision: 16 Jun 2021
Accepted: 20 Jun 2021
ePublished: 16 Oct 2021
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