Research Highlight

Facelift for gum tissue

doi:10.1038/nindia.2011.184 Published online 22 December 2011

Researchers have invented a nanocomposite material that could be useful as a scaffold for regenerating tissue surrounding the teeth. The nanocomposite was made by blending a natural polysaccharide with nanobioactive glass ceramic particles. The material could offer a new way to repair damaged gum tissue.

To devise an effective way to regenerate tooth-supporting tissue, the researchers prepared the nanocomposite by mixing alginate, a brown seaweed-derived polysaccharide, with nanobioactive glass ceramic particles. They studied the nanocomposite's ability to regenerate periodontal tissues such as gingiva (gum), cementum, alveolar bone, and the periodontal ligament.

The pore size of the composite was in the range of 100–300 μm, which is suitable for tissue engineering applications. The swelling and porosity of the composite aided the supply of nutrients to the interior of the composite scaffolds, thereby increasing the surface area to which the cells could adhere.

Protein adsorption was significantly higher for the composite scaffolds than for the alginate control scaffolds. Protein adsorption is known to influence cell adhesion by the adsorption of key molecules such as fibronectin. The cells were found viable in culture studies with human periodontal ligament fibroblast and osteosarcoma. They adhered and proliferated better on the composite scaffolds than on the control alginate scaffolds.

The researchers say that the composite scaffolds might be ideal for the cell and extracellular matrix deposition of bone comprising inorganic apatite, which is essential for dental and orthopaedic applications.


  1. Srinivasan, S. et al. Biocompatible alginate/nano bioactive glass ceramic composite scaffolds for periodontal tissue regeneration. Carbohydr. Polymer. 87, 274-283 (2012)