Innovative biomaterials are garnering significant attention in the biomedical community for their potential in treating a range of musculoskeletal disorders. Among them, a recent study published in “Biomolecules” has sparked notable interest. The research describes a novel chitosan-collagen 3D matrix that not only closely resembles trabecular bone but also influences the regulatory dynamics of bone formation and resorption—two critical processes in maintaining skeletal integrity.


1. Bone tissue engineering
2. Biomaterials for osteogenesis
3. Chitosan-collagen scaffold
4. Trabecular bone matrix
5. Osteoclastogenesis regulation

Background of Study

Bone health issues, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteopenia, affect millions globally, and biomedical research is in constant pursuit of advancements in bone tissue engineering to provide better treatment options. Chitosan and collagen, naturally derived polymers, have proven to be particularly promising due to their biocompatibility and bioactivity. The study conducted by Jeevithan and colleagues has merged these materials with hydroxyapatite (H) and chondroitin sulfate (Cs) to replicate natural bone’s three-dimensional architecture and investigate its effect on cells crucial to bone health.

The Study’s Findings

The investigative work published under DOI: 10.3390/biom9050173 in the journal “Biomolecules” has demonstrated the considerable potential of chitosan-collagen-H-Cs (CCHCs) 3D matrices in bone tissue engineering. The confirmation of the H crystallites arrangement within the 3D matrix, validated by XRD and micro-CT data, established the biomimetic accuracy of the scaffold. But beyond its structural mimicry, the functional role of the 3D matrix in modulating cellular activity is particularly remarkable. Differentiated osteoblasts and mesenchymal stem cells showed an increased propensity for bone-forming activities when in contact with the CCHCs 3D matrix. In contrast, the matrix exhibited an inhibitory effect on osteoclastogenic activities—signifying a reduction in bone resorption.

Implications for Bone Health

The fine balance between bone deposition and resorption is fundamental for maintaining bone health. RANKL-mediated paracrine signaling—crucial for osteoclast development—was shown to be downregulated by the CCHCs 3D matrix. This suggests the matrix’s potential in mediating osteoclastogenesis, potentially reducing excessive bone degradation commonly seen in osteoporotic conditions. The authors hypothesized that due to the CCHCs 3D matrix morphology, there would be enhanced bone growth, restricted bone resorption, making it a prime candidate for therapeutic applications in bone disorders.

Research Collaborators and Support

This research was spearheaded by a team of international experts. Elango Jeevithan served as the primary investigator, hailing from the Department of Marine Bio-Pharmacology at Shanghai Ocean University and St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. Collaborators included Saravanakumar Kandasamy, Saeed Ur Rahman, Yves Henrotin, Joe M. Regenstein, and others, who provided insights from medical biotechnology, biomedical materials, food science, osteoimmunology, among various scientific domains.

Expert Views and Commentary

Yves Henrotin, from the Bone and Cartilage Research Unit at the University of Liège and one of the authors, stated, “The development of this chitosan-collagen 3D matrix marks a significant step forward in our understanding of how biomaterials can regulate cellular environments to promote bone regeneration and inhibit deleterious resorptive activity.”

Joe M. Regenstein of Cornell University, another study collaborator, emphasized the matrix’s potential in offering new solutions for a rapidly aging population at risk of skeletal diseases.

Clinical Possibilities and Future Studies

The CCHCs 3D matrix opens new avenues for clinical interventions in bone repair and regeneration. As the study was in vitro, subsequent research could involve in vivo trials to further validate the scaffold’s effectiveness and safety. Potential clinical applications appear promising, particularly in the field of orthopedics where bone grafting and implants are commonly employed.


The chitosan-collagen 3D matrix stands at the forefront of biomedical innovation, closely mimicking trabecular bone structure and actively participating in the complex dialogues between bone-forming and bone-resorbing cells. As we continue to explore the biomaterial’s full potential, the research not only holds promise for significant clinical advancements but also underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in biomedical research.


1. Jeevithan, Elango, et al. “Chitosan-Collagen 3D Matrix Mimics Trabecular Bone and Regulates RANKL-Mediated Paracrine Cues of Differentiated Osteoblast and Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Bone Marrow Macrophage-Derived Osteoclastogenesis.” Biomolecules, vol. 9, no. 5, 2019 May 05, p. 173. DOI: 10.3390/biom9050173.

2. Sionkowska, A. “Current Research on the Blends of Natural and Synthetic Polymers as New Biomaterials: Review.” Progress in Polymer Science, vol. 36, 2011, pp. 1254–1276. DOI: 10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2011.05.003.

3. Mano, J.F., et al. “Natural Origin Biodegradable Systems in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Present Status and Some Moving Trends.” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 4, 2007, pp. 999–1030. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2007.0220.

4. Zhu, J., Marchant, R.E. “Design Properties of Hydrogel Tissue-Engineering Scaffolds.” Expert Review of Medical Devices, vol. 8, no. 5, 2011, pp. 607–626. DOI: 10.1586/erd.11.27.

5. Elieh-Ali-Komi, D., Hamblin, M.R. “Chitin and Chitosan: Production and Application of Versatile Biomedical Nanomaterials.” International Journal of Advanced Research, vol. 4, 2016, pp. 411–427. DOI: 10.1007/s40005-016-0259-1.


The authors declare no conflicts of interest in the research conducted. The research received support from relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the work is published in the journal “Biomolecules,” which adheres to stringent peer-review processes to ensure the quality and integrity of published material.

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Last Update: March 11, 2024