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The enrichment of whey protein isolate hydrogels with Poly-γ-glutamic acid promotes the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of pre-osteoblasts

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Article number18
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/12/2023
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Osseous disease accounts for over half of chronic pathologies, but there is a limited supply of autografts, the gold standard; hence, there is a demand for new synthetic biomaterials. Herein, we present the use of a promising, new dairy-derived biomaterial: whey protein isolate (WPI) in the form of hydrogels, modified with the addition of different concentrations of the biotechnologically produced protein-like polymeric substance poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) as a potential scaffold for tissue regeneration. Raman spectroscopic analysis demonstrated the successful creation of WPI-γ-PGA hydrogels. A cytotoxicity assessment using preosteoblastic cells demonstrated that the hydrogels were noncytotoxic and supported cell proliferation from day 3 to 14. All γ-PGA-containing scaffold compositions strongly promoted cell attachment and the formation of dense interconnected cell layers. Cell viability was significantly increased on γ-PGA-containing scaffolds on day 14 compared to WPI control scaffolds. Significantly, the cells showed markers of osteogenic differentiation; they synthesised increasing amounts of collagen over time, and cells showed significantly enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity at day 7 and higher levels of calcium for matrix mineralization at days 14 and 21 on the γ-PGA-containing scaffolds. These results demonstrated the potential of WPI-γ-PGA hydrogels as scaffolds for bone regeneration.