Nanolayered hybrid mediates synergistic co-delivery of ligand and ligation activator for inducing stem cell differentiation and tissue healing

Heemin Kang, Minkyu Kim, Qian Feng, Sien Lin, Kongchang Wei, Rui Li, Chan Ju Choi, Tae Hyun Kim, Gang Li, Jae Min Oh, Liming Bian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular behaviors, such as differentiation, are regulated by complex ligation processes involving cell surface receptors, which can be activated by various divalent metal cations. The design of nanoparticle for co-delivery of ligand and ligation activator can offer a novel strategy to synergistically stimulate ligation processes in vivo. Here, we present a novel layered double hydroxide (LDH)-based nanohybrid (MgFe-Ado-LDH), composed of layered MgFe hydroxide nanocarriers sandwiching the adenosine cargo molecule, maintained through an electrostatic balance, to co-deliver the adenosine (Ado) ligand from the interlayer spacing and the Mg2+ ion (ligation activator) through the dissolution of the MgFe nanocarrier itself. Our findings demonstrate that the MgFe-Ado-LDH nanohybrid promoted osteogenic differentiation of stem cells through the synergistic activation of adenosine A2b receptor (A2bR) by the dual delivery of adenosine and Mg2+ ions, outperforming direct supplementation of adenosine alone. Furthermore, the injection of the MgFe-Ado-LDH nanohybrid and stem cells embedded within hydrogels promoted the healing of rat tibial bone defects through the rapid formation of fully integrated neo-bone tissue through the activation of A2bR. The newly formed bone tissue displayed the key features of native bone, including calcification, mature tissue morphology, and vascularization. This study demonstrates a novel and effective strategy of bifunctional nanocarrier-mediated delivery of ligand (cargo molecule) and activation of its ligation to receptor by the nanocarrier itself for synergistically inducing stem cell differentiation and tissue healing in vivo, thus offering novel design of biomaterials for regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-28
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Ligation activator
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Nanohybrid
  • Stem cell differentiation
  • Synergistic ligation
  • Tissue repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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