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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Enzyme Directed Templating of Artificial Bone Mineral** 
Bone is one of Nature’s most remarkable materials, not only for its mechanical properties but also for its ability to repair fractures and remodel its microstructure in response to stress. At the nanoscale bone is a supramolecular matrix of collagen fibers reinforced by hydroxyapatite crystals with a high degree of order. Emulating elements of the biological synthesis of this composite could help develop strategies for advanced materials. Previous work has demonstrated the use of functionalized peptide amphiphile nanofibers in a two-dimensional system to emulate hydroxyapatite mineralization in natural bone. We describe here an artificial, in vitro biomineralization process that allows a similar process to occur in three dimensions. The system employs the natural enzyme alkaline phosphatase and a phosphorylated, anionic nanofiber gel matrix to template hydroxyapatite nanocrystals with size, shape, and crystallographic orientation resembling natural bone mineral. The formation of this biomimetic mineral in three dimensions results from the synergy of fiber-induced nucleation and the temporal control of phosphate ion harvesting by the enzyme. Gradual enzymatic harvesting of ions for crystal growth and the strong nucleating ability of the phosphorylated fibers suppresses uncontrolled precipitation of mineral. The strategy could lead to biomimetic materials to promote bone regeneration or the synthesis of hybrid materials with crystallographically defined structures.
PMCID: PMC3075609  PMID: 22068437
Biomineralization; Hydroxyapatite Nanocrystals; Supramolecular Materials; Synthetic Biology; Gels
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Bone tissue reactions to biomimetic ion-substituted apatite surfaces on titanium implants 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the bone tissue response to strontium- and silicon-substituted apatite (Sr-HA and Si-HA) modified titanium (Ti) implants. Sr-HA, Si-HA and HA were grown on thermally oxidized Ti implants by a biomimetic process. Oxidized implants were used as controls. Surface properties, i.e. chemical composition, surface thickness, morphology/pore characteristics, crystal structure and roughness, were characterized with various analytical techniques. The implants were inserted in rat tibiae and block biopsies were prepared for histology, histomorphometry and scanning electron microscopy analysis. Histologically, new bone formed on all implant surfaces. The bone was deposited directly onto the Sr-HA and Si-HA implants without any intervening soft tissue. The statistical analysis showed significant higher amount of bone–implant contact (BIC) for the Si-doped HA modification (P = 0.030), whereas significant higher bone area (BA) for the Sr-doped HA modification (P = 0.034), when compared with the non-doped HA modification. The differences were most pronounced at the early time point. The healing time had a significant impact for both BA and BIC (P < 0.001). The present results show that biomimetically prepared Si-HA and Sr-HA on Ti implants provided bioactivity and promoted early bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3367818  PMID: 22279159
bioactivity; biomimetic; hydroxyapatite; osseointegration; implant; in vivo
7.  Calcium Phosphate Combination Biomaterials as Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell (hMSC) Delivery Vehicles for Bone Repair 
A new class of biomimetic, bioresorbable apatitic calcium phosphate cement (CPC) biomaterial was recently developed. The handling characteristics and the ability to harden at body temperature in the presence of physiological saline makes it an attractive clinical bone substitute and delivery vehicle for therapeutic agents in orthopaedic applications. The major challenge with the material system consists in formulating an injectable paste with options for cell delivery in order to regenerate new bone faster with high quality. In this study, three different additives and/or viscosity modifiers (carboxymethylcellulose, silk and alginate) were incorporated into the CPC matrix. Injectability, cell viability and cell proliferation were evaluated by SEM, chemical content, and gene expression for osteogenesis of hMSCs. Injectable composites of CPC-gels for cell protection were achieved. The alginate provided the best outcomes, based on cell proliferation, ALP and collagen production, and osteogenic transcript increases for ALP, type I collagen, BSP and OP. Osteogenic analysis indicated lineage-specific differentiation of hMSCs into osteogenic outcomes in this CPC matrix. The results suggest that gel mixed CPC combination materials can be used as a cell delivery vehicle for bone regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3444743  PMID: 21384543
Calcium Phosphate Cement; Alginate; Silk; Carboxymethylcelluose; Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Osteogenesis
8.  Heat and Radiofrequency Plasma Glow Discharge Pretreatment of a Titanium Alloy Promote Bone Formation and Osseointegration 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2013;114(10):2363-2374.
Orthopedic and dental implants manifest increased failure rates when inserted into low density bone. We determined whether chemical pretreatments of a titanium alloy implant material stimulated new bone formation to increase osseointegration in vivo in trabecular bone using a rat model. Titanium alloy rods were untreated or pretreated with heat (600°C) or radiofrequency plasma glow discharge (RFGD). The rods were then coated with the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin (1 nM) or left uncoated and surgically implanted into the rat femoral medullary cavity. Animals were euthanized 3 or 6 weeks later, and femurs were removed for analysis. The number of trabeculae in contact with the implant surface, surface contact between trabeculae and the implant, and the length and area of bone attached to the implant were measured by histomorphometry. Implant shear strength was measured by a pull-out test. Both pretreatments and fibronectin enhanced the number of trabeculae bonding with the implant and trabeculae-to-implant surface contact, with greater effects of fibronectin observed with pretreated compared to untreated implants. RFGD pretreatment modestly increased implant shear strength, which was highly correlated (r2 = 0.87 – 0.99) with measures of trabecular bonding for untreated and RFGD-pretreated implants. In contrast, heat pretreatment increased shear strength 3 to 5-fold for both uncoated and fibronectin-coated implants at 3 and 6 weeks, suggesting a more rapid increase in implant-femur bonding compared to the other groups. In summary, our findings suggest that the heat and RFGD pretreatments can promote the osseointegration of a titanium alloy implant material.
PMCID: PMC3786157  PMID: 23649564
Dental implant; fibronectin; osteoblast; cell differentiation; bone mineralization; osseointegration
9.  Remineralization of artificial dentinal caries lesions by biomimetically modified Mineral Trioxide Aggregate 
Acta Biomaterialia  2011;8(2):836-842.
Fluoride-releasing restorative materials are available for remineralization of enamel and root caries. However, dentin remineralization is more difficult than enamel remineralization due to the paucity of apatite seed crystallites along the lesion surface for heterogeneous crystal growth. Extracellular matrix proteins play critical roles in controlling apatite nucleation/growth in collagenous tissues. This study examined the remineralization efficacy of mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) in phosphate-containing simulated body fluid (SBF) by incorporating polyacrylic acid and sodium tripolyphosphate as biomimetic analogs of matrix proteins for remineralizing caries-like dentin. Artificial caries-like dentin lesions incubated in SBF were remineralized over a 6-week period using MTA or MTA containing biomimetic analogs in the absence or presence of dentin adhesive application. Lesion depths and integrated mineral loss were monitored with micro-computed tomography. Ultrastructure of baseline and remineralized lesions were examined by transmission electron microscopy. Dentin remineralization was best achieved using MTA containing biomimetic analogs regardless of whether an adhesive was applied; dentinal tubules within the remineralized dentin were occluded by apatite. It is concluded that the MTA version employed in the study may be doped with biomimetic analogs for remineralization of unbonded and bonded artificial caries-like lesions in the presence of SBF.
PMCID: PMC3253923  PMID: 22085925
biomimetics; caries; micro-computed tomography; mineral trioxide aggregate; tubular occlusion
10.  Inorganic-Organic Nanocomposite Assembly Using Collagen as Template and Sodium Tripolyphosphate as A Biomimetic Analog of Matrix Phosphoprotein 
Crystal growth & design  2011;11(8):3504-3511.
Nanocomposites created with polycarboxylic acid alone as a stabilization agent for prenucleation clusters-derived amorphous calcium phosphate exhibit non-periodic apatite deposition. In the present study, we report the use of inorganic polyphosphate as a biomimetic analog of matrix phosphoprotein for directing polyacrylic acid-stabilized amorphous nanoprecursor phases to assemble into periodic apatite-collagen nanocomposites. The sorption and desorption characteristics of sodium tripolyphosphate to type I collagen was examined. Periodic nanocomposite assembly with collagen as a template was demonstrated with TEM and SEM using a Portland cement-based resin composite and a phosphate-containing simulated body fluid. Apatite was detected within the collagen at 24 hours and became more distinct at 48 hours, with prenucleation clusters attaching to the collagen fibril surface during the initial infiltration stage. Apatite-collagen nanocomposites at 72 hours were heavily mineralized with periodically-arranged intrafibrillar apatite platelets. Defect-containing nanocomposites caused by desorption of TPP from collagen fibrils were observed in regions lacking the inorganic phase.
PMCID: PMC3156482  PMID: 21857797
biomimetic synthesis; organic-inorganic nanocomposites; mesophases; polyanions; physisorption
11.  The role of collagen in bone apatite formation in the presence of hydroxyapatite nucleation inhibitors 
Nature materials  2010;9(12):1004-1009.
Bone is a composite material, in which collagen fibrils form a scaffold for a highly organized arrangement of uniaxially oriented apatite crystals1,2. In the periodic 67 nm cross-striated pattern of the collagen fibril3–5, the less dense 40-nm-long gap zone has been implicated as the place where apatite crystals nucleate from an amorphous phase, and subsequently grow6–9. This process is believed to be directed by highly acidic non-collagenous proteins6,7,9–11; however, the role of the collagen matrix12–14 during bone apatite mineralization remains unknown. Here, combining nanometre-scale resolution cryogenic transmission electron microscopy and cryogenic electron tomography15 with molecular modelling, we show that collagen functions in synergy with inhibitors of hydroxyapatite nucleation to actively control mineralization. The positive net charge close to the C-terminal end of the collagen molecules promotes the infiltration of the fibrils with amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP). Furthermore, the clusters of charged amino acids, both in gap and overlap regions, form nucleation sites controlling the conversion of ACP into a parallel array of oriented apatite crystals. We developed a model describing the mechanisms through which the structure, supramolecular assembly and charge distribution of collagen can control mineralization in the presence of inhibitors of hydroxyapatite nucleation.
PMCID: PMC3084378  PMID: 20972429
12.  Insight into Biological Apatite: Physiochemical Properties and Preparation Approaches 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:929748.
Biological apatite is an inorganic calcium phosphate salt in apatite form and nano size with a biological derivation. It is also the main inorganic component of biological hard tissues such as bones and teeth of vertebrates. Consequently, biological apatite has a wide application in dentistry and orthopedics by using as dental fillers and bone substitutes for bone reconstruction and regeneration. Given this, it is of great significance to obtain a comprehensive understanding of its physiochemical and biological properties. However, upon the previous studies, inconsistent and inadequate data of such basic properties as the morphology, crystal size, chemical compositions, and solubility of biological apatite were reported. This may be ascribed to the differences in the source of raw materials that biological apatite are made from, as well as the effect of the preparation approaches. Hence, this paper is to provide some insights rather than a thorough review of the physiochemical properties as well as the advantages and drawbacks of various preparation methods of biological apatite.
PMCID: PMC3773917  PMID: 24078928
13.  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
14.  Biomimetic and bioactive nanofibrous scaffolds from electrospun composite nanofibers 
Electrospinning is an enabling technology that can architecturally (in terms of geometry, morphology or topography) and biochemically fabricate engineered cellular scaffolds that mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM). This is especially important and forms one of the essential paradigms in the area of tissue engineering. While biomimesis of the physical dimensions of native ECM’s major constituents (eg, collagen) is no longer a fabrication-related challenge in tissue engineering research, conveying bioactivity to electrospun nanofibrous structures will determine the efficiency of utilizing electrospun nanofibers for regenerating biologically functional tissues. This can certainly be achieved through developing composite nanofibers. This article gives a brief overview on the current development and application status of employing electrospun composite nanofibers for constructing biomimetic and bioactive tissue scaffolds. Considering that composites consist of at least two material components and phases, this review details three different configurations of nanofibrous composite structures by using hybridizing basic binary material systems as example. These are components blended composite nanofiber, core-shell structured composite nanofiber, and nanofibrous mingled structure.
PMCID: PMC2676814  PMID: 18203429
electrospinning; composites; nanofiber; tissue scaffolds; biomimetic; bioactive
15.  Preparation and Characterization of Hydroxyapatite Coating on AZ31 Mg Alloy for Implant Applications 
Magnesium alloys as biodegradable metal implants in orthopaedic research received a lot of interest in recent years. They have attractive biological properties including being essential to human metabolism, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. However, magnesium can corrode too rapidly in the high-chloride environment of the physiological system, loosing mechanical integrity before the tissue has sufficiently healed. Hydroxyapatite (HAp) coating was proposed to decrease the corrosion rate and improve the bioactivity of magnesium alloy. Apatite has been cathodically deposited on the surface of Mg alloy from solution that composed of 3 mM Ca(H2PO4)2 and 7 mM CaCl2 at various applied potentials. The growing of HAp was confirmed on the surface of the coatings after immersion in SBF solution for 7 days. The coating obtained at −1.4 V showed higher corrosion resistance with bioactive behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3600141  PMID: 23533371
16.  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
17.  Immobilization of a phosphonated analog of matrix phosphoproteins within cross-linked collagen as a templating mechanism for biomimetic mineralization 
Acta biomaterialia  2010;7(1):268-277.
Immobilization of phosphoproteins on a collagen matrix is important for induction of intrafibrillar apatite mineralization. Unlike phosphate esters, polyphosphonic acid has no reactive sites for covalent binding to collagen amine groups. Binding of polyvinylphosphonic acid (PVPA), a biomimetic templating analog of matrix phosphoproteins, to collagen was found to be electrostatic in nature. Thus, an alternative retention mechanism was designed for immobilization of PVPA to collagen by cross-linking the latter with carbodiimide (EDC). This mechanism is based on the principle of size exclusion entrapment of PVPA molecules within the internal water compartments of collagen. By cross-linking collagen with EDC, a zero-length cross-linking agent, the sieving property of collagen is increased, enabling the PVPA to be immobilized within the collagen. Absence of covalent cross-linking between PVPA and collagen was confirmed by FT-IR spectroscopy. Based on these results, a concentration range for immobilized PVPA to template intrafibrillar apatite deposition was established and validated using a single-layer reconstituted type I collagen mineralization model. In the presence of a polyacrylic acid-containing mineralization medium, optimal intrafibrillar mineralization of the EDC-cross-linked collagen was achieved using 500 and 1,000 μg/mL PVPA. The mineralized fibrils exhibited a hierarchical order of intrafibrillar mineral infiltration, as manifested by the appearance of electron-dense periodicity within unstained fibrils. Understanding the basic processes in intrafibrillar mineralization of reconstituted collagen creates opportunities for the design of tissue engineering materials for hard tissue repair and regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2967586  PMID: 20688200
cross-linking; intrafibrillar mineralization; reconstituted collagen; size exclusion; templating analog
18.  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
19.  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
20.  Osseointegration of zirconia implants compared with titanium: an in vivo study 
Head & Face Medicine  2008;4:30.
Titanium and titanium alloys are widely used for fabrication of dental implants. Since the material composition and the surface topography of a biomaterial play a fundamental role in osseointegration, various chemical and physical surface modifications have been developed to improve osseous healing. Zirconia-based implants were introduced into dental implantology as an altenative to titanium implants. Zirconia seems to be a suitable implant material because of its tooth-like colour, its mechanical properties and its biocompatibility. As the osseointegration of zirconia implants has not been extensively investigated, the aim of this study was to compare the osseous healing of zirconia implants with titanium implants which have a roughened surface but otherwise similar implant geometries.
Forty-eight zirconia and titanium implants were introduced into the tibia of 12 minipigs. After 1, 4 or 12 weeks, animals were sacrificed and specimens containing the implants were examined in terms of histological and ultrastructural techniques.
Histological results showed direct bone contact on the zirconia and titanium surfaces. Bone implant contact as measured by histomorphometry was slightly better on titanium than on zirconia surfaces. However, a statistically significant difference between the two groups was not observed.
The results demonstrated that zirconia implants with modified surfaces result in an osseointegration which is comparable with that of titanium implants.
PMCID: PMC2614983  PMID: 19077228
21.  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
22.  Hydroxyapatite Coating of Titanium Implants Using Hydroprocessing and Evaluation of Their Osteoconductivity 
Many techniques for the surface modification of titanium and its alloys have been proposed from the viewpoint of improving bioactivity. This paper contains an overview of surface treatment methods, including coating with hydroxyapatite (HAp), an osteoconductive compound. There are two types of coating methods: pyroprocessing and hydroprocessing. In this paper, hydroprocessing for coating on the titanium substrate with HAp, carbonate apatite (CO3–Ap), a CO3–Ap/CaCO3 composite, HAp/collagen, and a HAp/gelatin composite is outlined. Moreover, evaluation by implantation of surface-modified samples in rat tibiae is described.
PMCID: PMC3287042  PMID: 22400015
23.  Calcium-binding phospholipids as a coating material for implant osteointegration 
Among the many biomolecules involved in the bone mineralization processes, anionic phospholipids play an important role because of their ability to bind calcium. In particular, phosphatidylserine is a natural component of the plasmalemma and of the matrix vesicles generated from the osteoblast membrane to create nucleation centres for calcium phosphate crystal precipitation. In the present work, we demonstrate that calcium-binding phospholipids can be used as biomimetic coating materials for improving the osteointegration of metal implants. Relatively thick phosphatidylserine-based coatings were deposited on titanium coupons by dip-coating. Upon dehydration in a simulated body fluid phospholipids were quickly crosslinked by calcium and re-arranged into a three-dimensional matrix able to induce rapid formation of a calcium phosphate mineral phase. The rate of mineralization was shown to be dependent on the adopted coating formulation. In the attempt to closely mimic the cell membrane composition, heterogeneous formulations based on the mixing of anionic phospholipids (either phosphatidylserine or phosphatidylinositol) with phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol were synthesized. However, surface plasmon resonance studies as well as scanning electron microscopy and elemental analysis demonstrated that the homogeneous phosphatidylserine coating was a more effective calcification environment than the heterogeneous formulations.
PMCID: PMC1578739  PMID: 16849237
biomaterials; phospholipids; coatings; mineralization; osteointegration
24.  Nanostructured model implants for in vivo studies: influence of well-defined nanotopography on de novo bone formation on titanium implants 
An implantable model system was developed to investigate the effects of nanoscale surface properties on the osseointegration of titanium implants in rat tibia. Topographical nanostructures with a well-defined shape (semispherical protrusions) and variable size (60 nm, 120 nm and 220 nm) were produced by colloidal lithography on the machined implants. Furthermore, the implants were sputter-coated with titanium to ensure a uniform surface chemical composition. The histological evaluation of bone around the implants at 7 days and 28 days after implantation was performed on the ground sections using optical and scanning electron microscopy. Differences between groups were found mainly in the new bone formation process in the endosteal and marrow bone compartments after 28 days of implantation. Implant surfaces with 60 nm features demonstrated significantly higher bone-implant contact (BIC, 76%) compared with the 120 nm (45%) and control (57%) surfaces. This effect was correlated to the higher density and curvature of the 60 nm protrusions. Within the developed model system, nanoscale protrusions could be applied and systematically varied in size in the presence of microscale background roughness on complex screw-shaped implants. Moreover, the model can be adapted for the systematic variation of surface nanofeature density and chemistry, which opens up new possibilities for in vivo studies of various nanoscale surface-bone interactions.
PMCID: PMC3260035  PMID: 22267926
in vivo; nanotopography; osseointegration; titanium implant; colloidal lithography
25.  Specimen-specific multi-scale model for the anisotropic elastic constants of human cortical bone 
Journal of biomechanics  2009;42(13):2061-2067.
The anisotropic elastic constants of human cortical bone were predicted using a specimen-specific micromechanical model that accounted for structural parameters across multiple length scales. At the nano-scale, the elastic constants of the mineralized collagen fibril were estimated from measured volume fractions of the constituent phases, namely apatite crystals and Type I collagen. The elastic constants of the extracellular matrix (ECM) were predicted using the measured orientation distribution function (ODF) for the apatite crystals to average the contribution of misoriented mineralized collagen fibrils. Finally, the elastic constants of cortical bone tissue were determined by accounting for the measured volume fraction of Haversian porosity within the ECM. Model predictions using the measured apatite crystal ODF were not statistically different from experimental measurements for both the magnitude and anisotropy of elastic constants. In contrast, model predictions using common idealized assumptions of perfectly aligned or randomly oriented apatite crystals were significantly different from the experimental measurements. A sensitivity analysis indicated that the apatite crystal volume fraction and ODF were the most influential structural parameters affecting model predictions of the magnitude and anisotropy, respectively, of elastic constants.
PMCID: PMC2770098  PMID: 19664772
Anisotropy; Compact Bone; Cortical Bone; Elastic Constants; Micromechanical Model; Multi-scale Model; Orientation Distribution Function; Specimen-Specific Model

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