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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 270260, 9 pages
Review Article

Hydrogel-Based Nanocomposites and Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Promising Synergistic Strategy for Neurodegenerative Disorders Therapy

1IRCCS-“Mario Negri” Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy
2Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, P.le Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy
3Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “G. Natta,” Politecnico of Milan and INSTM Consortium Research Unit, 20131 Milan, Italy

Received 4 October 2013; Accepted 26 November 2013

Academic Editors: R. Adhikari and L. Visai

Copyright © 2013 Diego Albani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hydrogel-based materials are widely employed in the biomedical field. With regard to central nervous system (CNS) neurodegenerative disorders, the design of injectable nanocomposite hydrogels for in situ drug or cell release represents an interesting and minimally invasive solution that might play a key role in the development of successful treatments. In particular, biocompatible and biodegradable hydrogels can be designed as specific injectable tools and loaded with nanoparticles (NPs), to improve and to tailor their viscoelastic properties upon injection and release profile. An intriguing application is hydrogel loading with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are a very promising therapeutic tool for neurodegenerative or traumatic disorders of the CNS. This multidisciplinary review will focus on the basic concepts to design acellular and cell-loaded materials with specific and tunable rheological and functional properties. The use of hydrogel-based nanocomposites and mesenchymal stem cells as a synergistic strategy for nervous tissue applications will be then discussed.