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1.  Synthetic osteogenic extracellular matrix formed by coated silicon dioxide nanosprings 
The design of biomimetic materials that parallel the morphology and biology of extracellular matrixes is key to the ability to grow functional tissues in vitro and to enhance the integration of biomaterial implants into existing tissues in vivo. Special attention has been put into mimicking the nanostructures of the extracellular matrix of bone, as there is a need to find biomaterials that can enhance the bonding between orthopedic devices and this tissue.
We have tested the ability of normal human osteoblasts to propagate and differentiate on silicon dioxide nanosprings, which can be easily grown on practically any surface. In addition, we tested different metals and metal alloys as coats for the nanosprings in tissue culture experiments with bone cells.
Normal human osteoblasts grown on coated nanosprings exhibited an enhanced rate of propagation, differentiation into bone forming cells and mineralization. While osteoblasts did not attach effectively to bare nanowires grown on glass, these cells propagated successfully on nanosprings coated with titanium oxide and gold. We observed a 270 fold increase in the division rate of osteoblasts when grow on titanium/gold coated nanosprings. This effect was shown to be dependent on the nanosprings, as the coating by themselves did not alter the growth rate of osteoblast. We also observed that titanium/zinc/gold coated nanosprings increased the levels of osteoblast production of alkaline phosphatase seven folds. This result indicates that osteoblasts grown on this metal alloy coated nanosprings are differentiating to mature bone making cells. Consistent with this hypothesis, we showed that osteoblasts grown on the same metal alloy coated nanosprings have an enhanced ability to deposit calcium salt.
We have established that metal/metal alloy coated silicon dioxide nanosprings can be used as a biomimetic material paralleling the morphology and biology of osteogenic extracellular matrix. The coated nanosprings enhance normal human osteoblasts cellular behaviors needed for improving osseointegration of orthopedic materials. Thus, metal-coated nanosprings represent a novel biomaterial that could be exploited for improving success rates of orthopedic implant procedures.
PMCID: PMC3276422  PMID: 22284364
nanosprings; nanomaterials; osteoblasts; osseointegration; calcification; bone regeneration
2.  Microstructure and mineral composition of dystrophic calcification associated with the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(5):R159.
Calcified deposits (CDs) in skin and muscles are common in juvenile dermatomyositis (DM), and less frequent in adult DM. Limited information exists about the microstructure and composition of these deposits, and no information is available on their elemental composition and contents, mineral density (MD) and stiffness. We determined the microstructure, chemical composition, MD and stiffness of CDs obtained from DM patients.
Surgically-removed calcinosis specimens were analyzed with fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy in reflectance mode (FTIR-RM) to map their spatial distribution and composition, and with scanning electron microscopy/silicon drift detector energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM/SDD-EDS) to obtain elemental maps. X-ray diffraction (XRD) identified their mineral structure, X-ray micro-computed tomography (μCT) mapped their internal structure and 3D distribution, quantitative backscattered electron (qBSE) imaging assessed their morphology and MD, nanoindentation measured their stiffness, and polarized light microscopy (PLM) evaluated the organic matrix composition.
Some specimens were composed of continuous carbonate apatite containing small amounts of proteins with a mineral to protein ratio much higher than in bone, and other specimens contained scattered agglomerates of various sizes with similar composition (FTIR-RM). Continuous or fragmented mineralization was present across the entire specimens (μCT). The apatite was much more crystallized than bone and dentin, and closer to enamel (XRD) and its calcium/phophorous ratios were close to stoichiometric hydroxyapatite (SEM/SDD-EDS). The deposits also contained magnesium and sodium (SEM/SDD-EDS). The MD (qBSE) was closer to enamel than bone and dentin, as was the stiffness (nanoindentation) in the larger dense patches. Large mineralized areas were typically devoid of collagen; however, collagen was noted in some regions within the mineral or margins (PLM). qBSE, FTIR-RM and SEM/SDD-EDS maps suggest that the mineral is deposited first in a fragmented pattern followed by a wave of mineralization that incorporates these particles. Calcinosis masses with shorter duration appeared to have islands of mineralization, whereas longstanding deposits were solidly mineralized.
The properties of the mineral present in the calcinosis masses are closest to that of enamel, while clearly differing from bone. Calcium and phosphate, normally present in affected tissues, may have precipitated as carbonate apatite due to local loss of mineralization inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2787294  PMID: 19857267
3.  Titanium Implant Osseointegration Problems with Alternate Solutions Using Epoxy/Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Composite 
Metals  2014;4(4):549-569.
The aim of the article is to present recent developments in material research with bisphenyl-polymer/carbon-fiber-reinforced composite that have produced highly influential results toward improving upon current titanium bone implant clinical osseointegration success. Titanium is now the standard intra-oral tooth root/bone implant material with biocompatible interface relationships that confer potential osseointegration. Titanium produces a TiO2 oxide surface layer reactively that can provide chemical bonding through various electron interactions as a possible explanation for biocompatibility. Nevertheless, titanium alloy implants produce corrosion particles and fail by mechanisms generally related to surface interaction on bone to promote an inflammation with fibrous aseptic loosening or infection that can require implant removal. Further, lowered oxygen concentrations from poor vasculature at a foreign metal surface interface promote a build-up of host-cell-related electrons as free radicals and proton acid that can encourage infection and inflammation to greatly influence implant failure. To provide improved osseointegration many different coating processes and alternate polymer matrix composite (PMC) solutions have been considered that supply new designing potential to possibly overcome problems with titanium bone implants. Now for important consideration, PMCs have decisive biofunctional fabrication possibilities while maintaining mechanical properties from addition of high-strengthening varied fiber-reinforcement and complex fillers/additives to include hydroxyapatite or antimicrobial incorporation through thermoset polymers that cure at low temperatures. Topics/issues reviewed in this manuscript include titanium corrosion, implant infection, coatings and the new epoxy/carbon-fiber implant results discussing osseointegration with biocompatibility related to nonpolar molecular attractions with secondary bonding, carbon fiber in vivo properties, electrical semiconductors, stress transfer, additives with low thermal PMC processing and new coating possibilities.
PMCID: PMC4307950  PMID: 25635227
titanium; composite; bisphenol polymer; carbon fiber; osseointegration; corrosion; infection; estrogen; microbiocircuit; semiconductor
4.  Biomimetic Nanofibrous Gelatin/Apatite Composite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering 
Biomaterials  2009;30(12):2252-2258.
Mimicking certain features (e.g. nanoscale topography and biological cues) of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) is advantageous for the successful regeneration of damaged tissue. In this study, nanofibrous gelatin/apatite (NF-gelatin/apatite) composite scaffolds have been fabricated to mimic both the physical architecture and chemical composition of natural bone ECM. A thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique was developed to prepare nanofibrous gelatin (NF-gelatin) matrix. The NF-gelatin matrix mimicked natural collagen fibers and had an average fiber diameter of about 150 nm. By integrating the TIPS method with porogen leaching, three-dimensional NF-gelatin scaffolds with well-defined macropores were fabricated. In comparison to Gelfoam® (a commercial gelatin foam) with similar pore size and porosity, the NF-gelatin scaffolds exhibited a much higher surface area and mechanical strength. The surface area and compressive modulus of NF-gelatin scaffolds were more than 700 times and 10 times higher than that of Gelfoam®, respectively. The NF-gelatin scaffolds also showed excellent biocompatibility and mechanical stability. To further enhance pre-osteoblast cell differentiation as well as improving mechanical strength, bone-like apatite particles (< 2 μm) were incorporated onto the surface of NF-gelatin scaffolds via a simulated body fluid (SBF) incubation process. The NF-gelatin/apatite scaffolds showed significantly higher mechanical strength than NF-gelatin scaffolds 5 days after SBF treatment. Furthermore, the incorporated apatite in the NF-gelatin/apatite composite scaffold enhanced the ostgeogenic differentiation. The expression of BSP and OCN in the osteoblast-(NF-gelatin/apatite composite) constructs was about 5 times and 2 times higher than in the osteoblast-(NF-gelatin) constructs 4 week after cell culture. The biomimetic NF-gelatin/apatite scaffolds are, therefore, excellent for bone tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC2679864  PMID: 19152974
5.  UV- Killed Staphylococcus aureus Enhances Adhesion and Differentiation of Osteoblasts on Bone-associated Biomaterials 
Titanium alloys (Ti) are the preferred material for orthopaedic applications. However, very often, these metallic implants loosen over a long period and mandate revision surgery. For implant success, osteoblasts must adhere to the implant surface and deposit a mineralized extracellular matrix. Here, we utilized UV-killed Staphylococcus aureus as a novel osteoconductive coating for Ti surfaces. S. aureus expresses surface adhesins capable of binding to bone and biomaterials directly. Furthermore, interaction of S. aureus with osteoblasts activates growth factor-related pathways that potentiate osteogenesis. While UV-killed S. aureus cells retain their bone-adhesive ability, they do not stimulate significant immune modulator expression. All of the above properties were utilized for a novel implant coating so as to promote osteoblast recruitment and subsequent cell functions on the bone-implant interface. In the present study, osteoblast adhesion, proliferation, and mineralized extracellular matrix synthesis were measured on Ti surfaces coated with fibronectin with and without UV-killed bacteria. Osteoblast adhesion was enhanced on Ti alloy surfaces coated with bacteria compared to uncoated surfaces while cell proliferation was sustained comparably on both surfaces. Osteoblast markers such as collagen, osteocalcin, alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralized nodule formation were increased on Ti alloy coated with bacteria compared to uncoated surfaces.
PMCID: PMC2943998  PMID: 20725968
Titanium implant surfaces; Osseointegration; Staphylococcus aureus; Calvarial osteoblasts; Osteoblast differentiation
6.  Mineralisation of reconstituted collagen using polyvinylphosphonic acid/polyacrylic acid templating matrix protein analogues in the presence of calcium, phosphate and hydroxyl ions 
Biomaterials  2010;31(25):6618-6627.
The complex morphologies of mineralised collagen fibrils are regulated through interactions between the collagen matrix and non-collagenous extracellular proteins. In the present study, polyvinylphosphonic acid, a biomimetic analogue of matrix phosphoproteins, was synthesised and confirmed with FTIR and NMR. Biomimetic mineralisation of reconstituted collagen fibrils devoid of natural non-collagenous proteins was demonstrated with TEM using a Portland cement-containing resin composite and a phosphate-containing fluid in the presence of polyacrylic acid as sequestration, and polyvinylphosphonic acid as templating matrix protein analogues. In the presence of these dual biomimetic analogues in the mineralisation medium, intrafibrillar and extrafibrillar mineralisation via bottom-up nanoparticle assembly based on the nonclassical crystallisation pathway could be identified. Conversely, only large mineral spheres with no preferred association with collagen fibrils were observed in the absence of biomimetic analogues in the medium. Mineral phases were evident within the collagen fibrils as early as 4 hours after the initially-formed amorphous calcium phosphate nanoprecursors were transformed into apatite nanocrystals. Selected area electron diffraction patterns of highly mineralised collagen fibrils were nearly identical to those of natural bone, with apatite crystallites preferentially aligned along the collagen fibril axes.
PMCID: PMC2904357  PMID: 20621767
extrafibrillar mineralisation; intrafibrillar mineralisation; matrix protein analogues; reconstituted collagen fibrils; tissue engineering materials
7.  In Vitro Mineralization of Dense Collagen Substrates: A Biomimetic Approach Toward the Development of Bone-Graft Materials 
Acta Biomaterialia  2011;7(8):3158-3169.
Bone is an organic-inorganic composite which has hierarchical structuring that leads to high strength and toughness. The nanostructure of bone consists of nanocrystals of hydroxyapatite embedded and aligned within the interstices of collagen fibrils. This unique nanostructure leads to exceptional properties, both mechanical and biological, making it difficult to emulate bone properties without having a bone-like nanostructured material. A primary goal of our group’s work is to use biomimetic processing techniques that lead to bone-like structures.
In our prior studies, we demonstrated that intrafibrillar mineralization of porous collagen sponges, leading to a bone-like nanostructure, can be achieved using a polymer-induced liquid-precursor (PILP) mineralization process. The objective of this study was to investigate the use of this polymer-directed crystallization process to mineralize dense collagen substrates. To examine collagen scaffolds that truly represent the dense-packed matrix of bone, manatee bone was demineralized to isolate its collagen matrix, consisting of a dense, lamellar osteonal microstructure. This biogenic collagen scaffold was then remineralized using polyaspartate to direct the mineralization process through an amorphous precursor pathway.
Various conditions investigated included polymer molecular weight, substrate dimension and mineralization time. Mineral penetration depths of up to 100 μms were achieved using this PILP process, compared to no penetration with only surface precipitates observed for the conventional crystallization process. Electron microscopy, wide-angle X-ray diffraction, and thermal analysis were used to characterize the resulting hydroxyapatite/collagen composites. These studies demonstrate that the original interpenetrating bone nanostructure and osteonal microstructure could be recovered in a biogenic matrix using the PILP process.
PMCID: PMC3261505  PMID: 21550424
Biomineralization; bone; hydroxyapatite; amorphous calcium phosphate; biomimetic; collagen
8.  Modular titanium alloy neck adapter failures in hip replacement - failure mode analysis and influence of implant material 
Modular neck adapters for hip arthroplasty stems allow the surgeon to modify CCD angle, offset and femoral anteversion intraoperatively. Fretting or crevice corrosion may lead to failure of such a modular device due to high loads or surface contamination inside the modular coupling. Unfortunately we have experienced such a failure of implants and now report our clinical experience with the failures in order to advance orthopaedic material research and joint replacement surgery.
The failed neck adapters were implanted between August 2004 and November 2006 a total of about 5000 devices. After this period, the titanium neck adapters were replaced by adapters out of cobalt-chromium. Until the end of 2008 in total 1.4% (n = 68) of the implanted titanium alloy neck adapters failed with an average time of 2.0 years (0.7 to 4.0 years) postoperatively. All, but one, patients were male, their average age being 57.4 years (36 to 75 years) and the average weight 102.3 kg (75 to 130 kg). The failures of neck adapters were divided into 66% with small CCD of 130° and 60% with head lengths of L or larger. Assuming an average time to failure of 2.8 years, the cumulative failure rate was calculated with 2.4%.
A series of adapter failures of titanium alloy modular neck adapters in combination with a titanium alloy modular short hip stem was investigated. For patients having received this particular implant combination risk factors were identified which were associated with the occurence of implant failure. A Kaplan-Meier survival-failure-analysis was conducted. The retrieved implants were analysed using microscopic and chemical methods. Modes of failure were simulated in biomechanical tests. Comparative tests included modular neck adapters made of titanium alloy and cobalt chrome alloy material.
Retrieval examinations and biomechanical simulation revealed that primary micromotions initiated fretting within the modular tapered neck connection. A continuous abrasion and repassivation process with a subsequent cold welding at the titanium alloy modular interface. Surface layers of 10 - 30 μm titanium oxide were observed. Surface cracks caused by fretting or fretting corrosion finally lead to fatigue fracture of the titanium alloy modular neck adapters. Neck adapters made of cobalt chrome alloy show significantly reduced micromotions especially in case of contaminated cone connection. With a cobalt-chromium neck the micromotions can be reduced by a factor of 3 compared to the titanium neck. The incidence of fretting corrosion was also substantially lower with the cobalt-chromium neck configuration.
Failure of modular titanium alloy neck adapters can be initiated by surface micromotions due to surface contamination or highly loaded implant components. In the present study, the patients at risk were men with an average weight over 100 kg. Modular cobalt chrome neck adapters provide higher safety compared to titanium alloy material.
PMCID: PMC2824687  PMID: 20047653
9.  Effects of electrospun submicron fibers in calcium phosphate cement scaffold on mechanical properties and osteogenic differentiation of umbilical cord stem cells 
Acta biomaterialia  2011;7(11):4037-4044.
Fibrous scaffolds are promising for tissue engineering because of the high surface area and fibrous features mimicking the extracellular matrix in vivo. Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) can be injected and self-set in the bone defect. A literature search revealed no report on stem cell seeding on CPC containing electrospun submicron fibers. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of electrospun fibers in CPC on mechanical properties and human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell (hUCMSC) proliferation, osteogenic differentiation and mineralization for the first time. Poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) fibers were made via an electrospinning technique to yield an average fiber diameter of 650 nm. The fibers were incorporated into CPC consisting of tetracalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate anhydrous and chitosan lactate. Fiber volume fractions were 0%, 2.5%, 5% and 10%. CPC with 10% fibers had a flexural strength that was twice, and work-of-fracture (toughness) an order of magnitude, those of CPC without fibers. hUCMSCs proliferated rapidly and synthesized bone minerals while attaching to the electrospun fiber-CPC scaffolds. Alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and collagen I expressions of hUCMSCs were doubled, while mineralization was increased by 40%, when fiber volume fraction in CPC was increased from 0% to 10%. The enhanced cell function was attributed to the high surface area and biomimetic features of the fiber-CPC scaffold. In conclusion, incorporating submicron fibers into CPC greatly improved the strength and toughness of CPC. Creating submicron fibrous features in CPC was a useful method for enhancing the osteogenic differentiation and mineralization of stem cells. The novel electrospun fiber-CPC-hUCMSC construct is promising for stem cell delivery and bone tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3185192  PMID: 21763791
Electrospun Fibers; Calcium Phosphate Cement; Human Cord Stem Cells; Osteogenic Differentiation; Strength and Toughness; Bone Tissue Engineering
10.  Evaluation of Biological Properties of Electron Beam Melted Ti6Al4V Implant with Biomimetic Coating In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52049.
High strength porous titanium implants are widely used for the reconstruction of craniofacial defects because of their similar mechanical properties to those of bone. The recent introduction of electron beam melting (EBM) technique allows a direct digitally enabled fabrication of patient specific porous titanium implants, whereas both their in vitro and in vivo biological performance need further investigation.
In the present study, we fabricated porous Ti6Al4V implants with controlled porous structure by EBM process, analyzed their mechanical properties, and conducted the surface modification with biomimetic approach. The bioactivities of EBM porous titanium in vitro and in vivo were evaluated between implants with and without biomimetic apatite coating.
The physical property of the porous implants, containing the compressive strength being 163 - 286 MPa and the Young’s modulus being 14.5–38.5 GPa, is similar to cortical bone. The in vitro culture of osteoblasts on the porous Ti6Al4V implants has shown a favorable circumstance for cell attachment and proliferation as well as cell morphology and spreading, which were comparable with the implants coating with bone-like apatite. In vivo, histological analysis has obtained a rapid ingrowth of bone tissue from calvarial margins toward the center of bone defect in 12 weeks. We observed similar increasing rate of bone ingrowth and percentage of bone formation within coated and uncoated implants, all of which achieved a successful bridging of the defect in 12 weeks after the implantation.
This study demonstrated that the EBM porous Ti6Al4V implant not only reduced the stress-shielding but also exerted appropriate osteoconductive properties, as well as the apatite coated group. The results opened up the possibility of using purely porous titanium alloy scaffolds to reconstruct specific bone defects in the maxillofacial and orthopedic fields.
PMCID: PMC3525565  PMID: 23272208
11.  Differences between top-down and bottom-up approaches in mineralizing thick, partially-demineralized collagen scaffolds 
Acta biomaterialia  2010;7(4):1742-1751.
Biominerals exhibit complex hierarchical structures derived from bottom-up self-assembly mechanisms. Type I collagen serves as the building block for mineralized tissues such as bone and dentin. In the present study, 250–300 μm thick, partially-demineralized collagen scaffolds exhibiting a gradient of demineralization from the base to surface were mineralized using a classical top-down approach and a non-classical bottom-up approach. The top-down approach involved epitaxial growth over seed crystallites. The bottom-up approach utilized biomimetic analogs of matrix proteins to stabilize amorphous calcium phosphate nanoprecursors and template apatite nucleation and growth within the collagen matrix. Micro-computed tomography and transmission electron microscopy were employed to examine mineral uptake and apatite arrangement within the mineralized collagen matrix. The top-down approach could only mineralize the base of the partially-demineralized scaffold where remnant seed crystallites were abundant. Minimal mineralization was observed along the surface of the scaffold; extrafibrillar mineralization was predominantly observed. Conversely, the entire partially-demineralized scaffold including apatite-depleted collagen fibrils was mineralized by the bottom-up approach, with evidence of both intrafibrillar and extrafibrillar mineralization. Understanding the different mechanisms involved in these two mineralization approaches is pivotal in adopting the optimum strategy for fabricating novel nanostructured materials in bioengineering research.
PMCID: PMC3050119  PMID: 21111071
biomimetics; bottom-up; collagen; ion-mediated; particle-mediated; mineralization; top-down
12.  A Chemical Phosphorylation-inspired Design for Type I Collagen Biomimetic Remineralization 
Type I collagen alone cannot initiate tissue mineralization. Sodium trimetaphosphate (STMP) is frequently employed as a chemical phosphorylating reagent in the food industry. This study examined the feasibility of using STMP as a functional analog of matrix phosphoproteins for biomimetic remineralization of resin-bonded dentin.
Equilibrium adsorption and desorption studies of STMP were performed using demineralized dentin powder (DDP). Interaction between STMP and DDP was examined using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Based on those results, a bio-inspired mineralization scheme was developed for chemical phosphorylation of acid-etched dentin with STMP, followed by infiltration of the STMP-treated collagen matrix with two etch-and-rinse adhesives. Resin-dentin interfaces were remineralized in a Portland cement-simulated body fluid system, with or without the use of polyacrylic acid (PAA) as a dual biomimetic analog. Remineralized resin-dentin interfaces were examined unstained using transmission electron microscopy.
Analysis of saturation binding curves revealed the presence of irreversible phosphate group binding sites on the surface of the DDP. FT-IR provided additional evidence of chemical interaction between STMP and DDP, with increased in the peak intensities of the P=O and P–O–C stretching modes. Those peaks returned to their original intensities after alkaline phosphatase treatment. Evidence of intrafibrillar apatite formation could be seen in incompletely resin-infiltrated, STMP-phosphorylated collagen matrices only when PAA was present in the SBF.
These results reinforce the importance of PAA for sequestration of amorphous calcium phosphate nanoprecursors in the biomimetic remineralization scheme. They also highlight the role of STMP as a templating analog of dentin matrix phosphoproteins for inducing intrafibrillar remineralization of apatite nanocrystals within the collagen matrix of incompletely resin-infiltrated dentin.
PMCID: PMC2948635  PMID: 20688381
Adsorption; Sodium trimetaphosphate; Collagen; Dentin; Intrafibrillar remineralization
13.  Electrospun Hydroxyapatite-Containing Chitosan Nanofibers Crosslinked with Genipin for Bone Tissue Engineering 
Biomaterials  2012;33(36):9167-9178.
Reconstruction of large bone defects remains problematic in orthopedic and craniofacial clinical practice. Autografts are limited in supply and are associated with donor site morbidity while other materials show poor integration with the host’s own bone. This lack of integration is often due to the absence of periosteum, the outer layer of bone that contains osteoprogenitor cells and is critical for the growth and remodeling of bone tissue. In this study we developed a one-step platform to electrospin nanofibrous scaffolds from chitosan, which also contain hydroxyapatite nanoparticles and are crosslinked with genipin. We hypothesized that the resulting composite scaffolds represent a microenvironment that emulates the physical, mineralized structure and mechanical properties of non-weight bearing bone extracellular matrix while promoting osteoblast differentiation and maturation similar to the periosteum. The ultrastructure and physicochemical properties of the scaffolds were studied using scanning electron microscopy and spectroscopic techniques. The average fiber diameters of the electrospun scaffolds were 227±154 nm as spun, and increased to 335±119 nm after crosslinking with genipin. Analysis by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy confirmed the presence of characteristic features of hydroxyapatite in the composite chitosan fibers. The Young’s modulus of the composite fibrous scaffolds was 142±13 MPa, which is similar to that of the natural periosteum. Both pure chitosan scaffolds and composite hydroxyapatite-containing chitosan scaffolds supported adhesion, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of mouse 7F2 osteoblast-like cells. Expression and enzymatic activity of alkaline phosphatase, an early osteogenic marker, were higher in cells cultured on the composite scaffolds as compared to pure chitosan scaffolds, reaching a significant, 2.4 fold, difference by day 14 (p<0.05). Similarly, cells cultured on hydroxyapatite-containing scaffolds had the highest rate of osteonectin mRNA expression over 2 weeks, indicating enhanced osteoinductivity of the composite scaffolds. Our results suggest that crosslinking electrospun hydroxyapatite-containing chitosan with genipin yields bio-composite scaffolds, which combine non-weight-bearing bone mechanical properties with a periosteum-like environment and facilitate the proliferation, differentiation and maturation of osteoblast-like cells. We propose that these scaffolds might be useful for the repair and regeneration of maxillofacial defects and injuries.
PMCID: PMC3488354  PMID: 23022346
Chitosan; hydroxyapatite; genipin; electrospinning; bone tissue engineering; osteoblast differentiation
14.  Ultra-structural defects cause low bone matrix stiffness despite high mineralization in osteogenesis imperfecta mice☆ 
Bone  2012;50(6):1317-1323.
Bone is a complex material with a hierarchical multi-scale organization from the molecule to the organ scale. The genetic bone disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, is primarily caused by mutations in the collagen type I genes, resulting in bone fragility. Because the basis of the disease is molecular with ramifications at the whole bone level, it provides a platform for investigating the relationship between structure, composition, and mechanics throughout the hierarchy. Prior studies have individually shown that OI leads to: 1. increased bone mineralization, 2. decreased elastic modulus, and 3. smaller apatite crystal size. However, these have not been studied together and the mechanism for how mineral structure influences tissue mechanics has not been identified. This lack of understanding inhibits the development of more accurate models and therapies. To address this research gap, we used a mouse model of the disease (oim) to measure these outcomes together in order to propose an underlying mechanism for the changes in properties. Our main finding was that despite increased mineralization, oim bones have lower stiffness that may result from the poorly organized mineral matrix with significantly smaller, highly packed and disoriented apatite crystals. Using a composite framework, we interpret the lower oim bone matrix elasticity observed as the result of a change in the aspect ratio of apatite crystals and a disruption of the crystal connectivity.
► We have investigated osteogenesis imperfecta mice (oim) bone matrix. ► oim mice have lower matrix stiffness and higher mineralization than wild type mice. ► Poor correlation found between stiffness and mineralization. ► Changes in apatite crystal structure and connectivity may play a role the degradation of material properties despite higher density.
PMCID: PMC3407875  PMID: 22449447
Osteogenesis imperfecta; Bone matrix; Stiffness; Mineralization; Mouse model
15.  Calcium phosphate deposition rate, structure and osteoconductivity on electrospun poly(l-lactic acid) matrix using electrodeposition or simulated body fluid incubation 
Acta biomaterialia  2013;10(1):10.1016/j.actbio.2013.08.041.
Mineralized nanofibrous scaffolds have been proposed as promising scaffolds for bone regeneration due to their ability to mimic both nanoscale architecture and chemical composition of natural bone extracellular matrix (ECM). In this study, a novel electrodeposition method was compared with an extensively explored simulated body fluid (SBF) incubation method in terms of the deposition rate, chemical composition, and morphology of calcium phosphate formed on electrospun fibrous thin matrices with a fiber diameter in the range from about 200 nm to about 1400 nm prepared using 6, 8, 10 and 12 wt% poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA) solutions in a mixture of dichloromethane and acetone (2:1 in volume). The effects of the surface modification using the two mineralization techniques on osteoblastic cell (MC3T3-E1) proliferation and differentiation were also examined. It was found that electrodeposition was two to three orders of magnitude faster than the SBF method in mineralizing the fibrous matrices, reducing the mineralization time from about two weeks to an hour to achieve the same amounts of mineralization. The mineralization rate also varied with the fiber diameter but in opposite directions between the two mineralization methods. As a general trend, the increase of fiber diameter resulted in a faster mineralization rate for the electrodeposition method but a slower mineralization rate for the SBF incubation method. Using the electrodeposition method, one can control the chemical composition and morphology of the calcium phosphate by varying the electric deposition potential and electrolyte temperature to tune the mixture of dicalcium phosphate dihydrate (DCPD) and hydroxy apatite (HAp). Using the SBF method, one can only obtain a low crystallinity HAp. The mineralized electrospun PLLA fibrous matrices from either method similarly facilitate the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of preosteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells as compared to neat PLLA matrices. Therefore, the electrodeposition method can be utilized as a fast and versatile technique to fabricate mineralized nanofibrous scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3840094  PMID: 24012605
Electrodeposition; SBF incubation; Calcium phosphate; Nanofiber; Bone tissue engineering
16.  Biological assemblies provide novel templates for the synthesis of hierarchical structures and facilitate cell adhesion** 
Advanced functional materials  2008;18(24):3972-3980.
Mechanical mismatch and the lack of interactions between implants and the natural tissue environment are the major drawbacks in bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials mimicking the self-assembly process and the composition of the bone matrix should provide new route for fabricating biomaterials possessing novel osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties for bone repair. In the present study, we employ bio-inspired strategies to design de novo self-assembled chimeric protein hydrogels comprising leucine zipper motifs flanked by dentin matrix protein 1 domain, which was characterized as a mineralization nucleator. Results showed that this chimeric protein could function as a hydroxyapatite nucleator in pseudo-physiological buffer with the formation of highly oriented apatites similar to biogenic bone mineral. It could also function as an inductive substrate for osteoblast adhesion, promote cell surface integrin presentation and clustering, and modulate the formation of focal contacts. Such biomimetic “bottom-up” construction with dual osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties should open new avenues for bone tissue engineering.
Mechanical mismatch and the lack of interactions between implants and the natural tissue environment are the major drawbacks in bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials mimicking the self-assembly process and the composition of the bone matrix should provide new route for fabricating biomaterials possessing novel osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties for bone repair. In the present study, we employ bio-inspired strategies to design de novo self-assembled chimeric protein hydrogels comprising leucine zipper motifs flanked by dentin matrix protein 1 domain, which was characterized as a mineralization nucleator. Results showed that this chimeric protein could function as a hydroxyapatite nucleator in pseudo-physiological buffer with the formation of highly oriented apatites similar to biogenic bone mineral. It could also function as an inductive substrate for osteoblast adhesion, promote cell surface integrin presentation and clustering, and modulate the formation of focal contacts. Such biomimetic “bottom-up” construction with dual osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties should open new avenues for bone tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC2746078  PMID: 19768126
dentin matrix protein 1; leucine zipper; self-assembly; cell adhesion; mineralized matrix
17.  Rapid prototyped porous nickel–titanium scaffolds as bone substitutes 
Journal of Tissue Engineering  2014;5:2041731414540674.
While calcium phosphate–based ceramics are currently the most widely used materials in bone repair, they generally lack tensile strength for initial load bearing. Bulk titanium is the gold standard of metallic implant materials, but does not match the mechanical properties of the surrounding bone, potentially leading to problems of fixation and bone resorption. As an alternative, nickel–titanium alloys possess a unique combination of mechanical properties including a relatively low elastic modulus, pseudoelasticity, and high damping capacity, matching the properties of bone better than any other metallic material. With the ultimate goal of fabricating porous implants for spinal, orthopedic and dental applications, nickel–titanium substrates were fabricated by means of selective laser melting. The response of human mesenchymal stromal cells to the nickel–titanium substrates was compared to mesenchymal stromal cells cultured on clinically used titanium. Selective laser melted titanium as well as surface-treated nickel–titanium and titanium served as controls. Mesenchymal stromal cells had similar proliferation rates when cultured on selective laser melted nickel–titanium, clinically used titanium, or controls. Osteogenic differentiation was similar for mesenchymal stromal cells cultured on the selected materials, as indicated by similar gene expression levels of bone sialoprotein and osteocalcin. Mesenchymal stromal cells seeded and cultured on porous three-dimensional selective laser melted nickel–titanium scaffolds homogeneously colonized the scaffold, and following osteogenic induction, filled the scaffold’s pore volume with extracellular matrix. The combination of bone-related mechanical properties of selective laser melted nickel–titanium with its cytocompatibility and support of osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells highlights its potential as a superior bone substitute as compared to clinically used titanium.
PMCID: PMC4221926  PMID: 25383165
Bone tissue engineering; osteogenic differentiation; nickel–titanium; scaffold; selective laser melting
18.  Sciatic nerve regeneration in rats by a promising electrospun collagen/poly(ε-caprolactone) nerve conduit with tailored degradation rate 
BMC Neuroscience  2011;12:68.
To cope with the limitations faced by autograft acquisitions particularly for multiple nerve injuries, artificial nerve conduit has been introduced by researchers as a substitute for autologous nerve graft for the easy specification and availability for mass production. In order to best mimic the structures and components of autologous nerve, great efforts have been made to improve the designation of nerve conduits either from materials or fabrication techniques. Electrospinning is an easy and versatile technique that has recently been used to fabricate fibrous tissue-engineered scaffolds which have great similarity to the extracellular matrix on fiber structure.
In this study we fabricated a collagen/poly(ε-caprolactone) (collagen/PCL) fibrous scaffold by electrospinning and explored its application as nerve guide substrate or conduit in vitro and in vivo. Material characterizations showed this electrospun composite material which was made of submicron fibers possessed good hydrophilicity and flexibility. In vitro study indicated electrospun collagen/PCL fibrous meshes promoted Schwann cell adhesion, elongation and proliferation. In vivo test showed electrospun collagen/PCL porous nerve conduits successfully supported nerve regeneration through an 8 mm sciatic nerve gap in adult rats, achieving similar electrophysiological and muscle reinnervation results as autografts. Although regenerated nerve fibers were still in a pre-mature stage 4 months postoperatively, the implanted collagen/PCL nerve conduits facilitated more axons regenerating through the conduit lumen and gradually degraded which well matched the nerve regeneration rate.
All the results demonstrated this collagen/PCL nerve conduit with tailored degradation rate fabricated by electrospinning could be an efficient alternative to autograft for peripheral nerve regeneration research. Due to its advantage of high surface area for cell attachment, it is believed that this electrospun nerve conduit could find more application in cell therapy for nerve regeneration in future, to further improve functional regeneration outcome especially for longer nerve defect restoration.
PMCID: PMC3148572  PMID: 21756368
19.  Combining technologies to create bioactive hybrid scaffolds for bone tissue engineering 
Biomatter  2013;3(2):e23705.
Combining technologies to engineer scaffolds that can offer physical and chemical cues to cells is an attractive approach in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In this study, we have fabricated polymer-ceramic hybrid scaffolds for bone regeneration by combining rapid prototyping (RP), electrospinning (ESP) and a biomimetic coating method in order to provide mechanical support and a physico-chemical environment mimicking both the organic and inorganic phases of bone extracellular matrix (ECM). Poly(ethylene oxide terephthalate)-poly(buthylene terephthalate) (PEOT/PBT) block copolymer was used to produce three dimensional scaffolds by combining 3D fiber (3DF) deposition, and ESP, and these constructs were then coated with a Ca-P layer in a simulated physiological solution. Scaffold morphology and composition were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled to energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDX) and Fourier Tranform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Bone marrow derived human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) were cultured on coated and uncoated 3DF and 3DF + ESP scaffolds for up to 21 d in basic and mineralization medium and cell attachment, proliferation, and expression of genes related to osteogenesis were assessed. Cells attached, proliferated and secreted ECM on all the scaffolds. There were no significant differences in metabolic activity among the different groups on days 7 and 21. Coated 3DF scaffolds showed a significantly higher DNA amount in basic medium at 21 d compared with the coated 3DF + ESP scaffolds, whereas in mineralization medium, the presence of coating in 3DF+ESP scaffolds led to a significant decrease in the amount of DNA. An effect of combining different scaffolding technologies and material types on expression of a number of osteogenic markers (cbfa1, BMP-2, OP, OC and ON) was observed, suggesting the potential use of this approach in bone tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3749798  PMID: 23507924
rapid prototyping; electrospinning; biomimetic coating; polymer; calcium-phosphate; bone tissue engineering
20.  Bisphenyl-Polymer/Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Composite Compared to Titanium Alloy Bone Implant 
Aerospace/aeronautical thermoset bisphenyl-polymer/carbon-fiber-reinforced composites are considered as new advanced materials to replace metal bone implants. In addition to well-recognized nonpolar chemistry with related bisphenol-polymer estrogenic factors, carbon-fiber-reinforced composites can offer densities and electrical conductivity/resistivity properties close to bone with strengths much higher than metals on a per-weight basis. In vivo bone-marrow tests with Sprague-Dawley rats revealed far-reaching significant osseoconductivity increases from bisphenyl-polymer/carbon-fiber composites when compared to state-of-the-art titanium-6-4 alloy controls. Midtibial percent bone area measured from the implant surface increased when comparing the titanium alloy to the polymer composite from 10.5% to 41.6% at 0.8 mm, P < 10−4, and 19.3% to 77.7% at 0.1 mm, P < 10−8. Carbon-fiber fragments planned to occur in the test designs, instead of producing an inflammation, stimulated bone formation and increased bone integration to the implant. In addition, low-thermal polymer processing allows incorporation of minerals and pharmaceuticals for future major tissue-engineering potential.
PMCID: PMC4278381  PMID: 25553057
21.  Self-setting collagen-calcium phosphate bone cement: Mechanical and cellular properties 
Calcium phosphate cement (CPC) can conform to complex bone cavities and set in-situ to form bioresorbable hydroxyapatite. The aim of this study was to develop a CPC-collagen composite with improved fracture resistance, and to investigate the effects of collagen on mechanical and cellular properties. A type-I bovine-collagen was incorporated into CPC. MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts were cultured. At CPC powder/liquid mass ratio of 3, the work-of-fracture (mean±sd; n=6) was increased from (22±4) J/m2 at 0% collagen, to (381±119) J/m2 at 5% collagen (p≤0.05). At 2.5–5% of collagen, the flexural strength at powder/liquid ratios of 3 and 3.5 was 8–10 MPa. They matched the previously-reported 2–11 MPa of sintered porous hydroxyapatite implants. SEM revealed that the collagen fibers were covered with nano-apatite crystals and bonded to the CPC matrix. Higher collagen content increased the osteoblast cell attachment (p≤0.05). The number of live cells per specimen area was (382±99) cells/mm2 on CPC containing 5% collagen, higher than (173±42) cells/mm2 at 0% collagen (p≤0.05). The cytoplasmic extensions of the cells anchored to the nano-apatite crystals of the CPC matrix. In summary, collagen was incorporated into in situ-setting, nano-apatitic CPC, achieving a 10-fold increase in work-of-fracture (toughness) and 2-fold increase in osteoblast cell attachment. This moldable/injectable, mechanically-strong, nano-apatite-collagen composite may enhance bone regeneration in moderate stress-bearing applications.
PMCID: PMC2749899  PMID: 18985758
calcium phosphate bone cement; collagen; cell attachment; cell density; strength; work-of-fracture; bone tissue engineering
22.  Material Properties and Osteogenic Differentiation of Marrow Stromal Cells on Fiber-Reinforced Laminated Hydrogel Nanocomposites 
Acta biomaterialia  2009;6(6):1992-2002.
The fibrils in the bone matrix are glued together by ECM proteins to form laminated structures (osteons) to provide elasticity and a supportive substrate for osteogenesis. The objective of this work was to investigate material properties and osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells seeded on osteon-mimetic fiber-reinforced hydrogel/apatite composites. Layers of electrospun poly(L-lactide) (L-PLA) fiber mesh coated with a poly(lactide-co-ethylene oxide fumarate) (PLEOF) hydrogel precursor solution were stacked and pressed together, and crosslinked to produce a laminated fiber-reinforced composite. Hydroxyapatite (HA) nanocrystals were added to the precursor solution to produce an osteoconductive matrix for BMS cells. Acrylamide-terminated RGD peptide (Ac-GRGD) was conjugated to the PLEOF/HA hydrogel phase to promote focal point adhesion of BMS cells. Laminates were characterized with respect to Young’s modulus, degradation kinetics, and osteogenic differentiation of BMS cells. The moduli of the laminates under dry and wet conditions were significantly higher than those of the fiber mesh and PLEOF/HA hydrogel, and within the range of values reported for wet human cancellous bone. At days 14 and 21, ALPase activity of the laminates was significantly higher than those of the fiber mesh and hydrogel. Lamination significantly increased the extent of mineralization of BMS cells and laminates with HA and conjugated with RGD (Lam-RGD-HA) had 2.7-, 3.5-, and 2.8-fold higher calcium content (compared to laminates without HA or RGD) after 7, 14, and 21 days, respectively. The Lam-RGD-HA group had significantly higher expression of osteopontin (OP) and osteocalcin (OC) compared to the hydrogel or laminates without HA or RGD, consistent with the higher ALPase activity and calcium content of Lam-RGD-HA. Laminated osteon-mimetic structures have the potential to provide mechanical strength to the regenerating region as well as supporting the differentiation of progenitor cells to the osteogenic lineage.
PMCID: PMC2862832  PMID: 19995620
Bone is a strong and tough material composed of apatite mineral, organic matter and water. Changes in composition and organization of these building blocks affect bone’s mechanical integrity. Skeletal disorders often affect bone’s mineral phase, either by variations in the collagen or directly altering mineralization. The aim of the current study was to explore the differences in the mineral of brittle and ductile cortical bone at the mineral (nm) and tissue (µm) levels using two mouse phenotypes. Osteogenesis imperfecta murine (oim−/−) mice were used to model brittle bone; PHOSPHO1 mutants (Phospho1−/−) had ductile bone. They were compared to their respective wild-type controls. Femora were defatted and ground to powder to measure average mineral crystal size using X-ray diffraction (XRD), and to monitor the bulk mineral to matrix ratio via thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). XRD scans were run after TGA for phase identification, to assess the fractions of hydroxyapatite and β-tricalcium phosphate. Tibiae were embedded to measure elastic properties with nanoindentation and the extent of mineralization with backscattered electron microscopy (qbSEM). Interestingly, the mineral of brittle oim−/− and ductile Phospho1−/− bones had many similar characteristics. Both pathology models had smaller apatite crystals, lower mineral to matrix ratio, and showed more thermal conversion to β-tricalcium phosphate than their wild-types, indicating deviations from stoichiometric hydroxyapatite in the original mineral. The degree of mineralization of the bone matrix was different for each strain: oim−/− were hypermineralized, while Phospho1−/− were hypomineralized. However, alterations in the mineral were associated with reduced tissue elastic moduli in both pathologies. Results revealed that despite having extremely different whole bone mechanics, the mineral of oim−/− and Phospho1−/− has several similar trends at smaller length scales. This indicates that alterations from normal crystal size, composition, and structure will reduce the mechanical integrity of bone.
PMCID: PMC4507744  PMID: 25418329
ANALYSIS/QUANTITATION OF BONE; Genetic animal models < ANIMAL MODELS; Matrix mineralization < BONE MATRIX; Osteogenesis imperfecta < DISEASES AND DISORDERS OF/RELATED TO BONE
24.  Hydroxyapatite Mineralization on the Calcium Chloride Blended Polyurethane Nanofiber via Biomimetic Method 
Polyurethane nanofibers containing calcium chloride (CaCl2) were prepared via an electrospinning technique for the biomedical applications. Polyurethane nanofibers with different concentration of CaCl2 were electrospun, and their bioactivity evaluation was conducted by incubating in biomimetic simulated body fluid (SBF) solution. The morphology, structure and thermal properties of the polyurethane/CaCl2 composite nanofibers were characterized by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field-emission scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetry. SEM images revealed that the CaCl2 salt incorporated homogeneously to form well-oriented nanofibers with smooth surface and uniform diameters along their lengths. The SBF incubation test confirmed the formation of apatite-like materials, exhibiting enhanced bioactive behavior of the polyurethane/CaCl2 composite nanofibers. This study demonstrated that the electrospun polyurethane containing CaCl2 composite nanofibers enhanced the in vitro bioactivity and supports the growth of apatite-like materials.
PMCID: PMC3102341  PMID: 21711574
Polyurethane; Electrospinning; Nanofibers; Simulated body fluid; Bioactivity
25.  Gelatin-apatite bone mimetic co-precipitates incorporated within biopolymer matrix to improve mechanical and biological properties useful for hard tissue repair 
Journal of Biomaterials Applications  2014;28(8):1213-1225.
Synthetic biopolymers are commonly used for the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues. Specifically targeting bone, the composite approach of utilizing inorganic components is considered promising in terms of improving mechanical and biological properties. We developed gelatin-apatite co-precipitates which mimic the native bone matrix composition within poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLCL). Ionic reaction of calcium and phosphate with gelatin molecules enabled the co-precipitate formation of gelatin-apatite nanocrystals at varying ratios. The gelatin-apatite precipitates formed were carbonated apatite in nature, and were homogeneously distributed within the gelatin matrix. The incorporation of gelatin-apatite significantly improved the mechanical properties, including tensile strength, elastic modulus and elongation at break, and the improvement was more pronounced as the apatite content increased. Of note, the tensile strength increased to as high as 45 MPa (a four-fold increase vs. PLCL), the elastic modulus was increased up to 1500 MPa (a five-fold increase vs. PLCL), and the elongation rate was ∼240% (twice vs. PLCL). These results support the strengthening role of the gelatin-apatite precipitates within PLCL. The gelatin-apatite addition considerably enhanced the water affinity and the acellular mineral-forming ability in vitro in simulated body fluid; moreover, it stimulated cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. Taken together, the GAp-PLCL nanocomposite composition is considered to have excellent mechanical and biological properties, which hold great potential for use as bone regenerative matrices.
PMCID: PMC4107824  PMID: 23985536
Composite materials; bone mimetic; bioactive ceramics; polymer matrix; mechanical properties; bone regeneration

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