Interfacial mineral fusion and tubule entanglement as a means to harden a bone augmentation material

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  • Univ Loughborough


A new bone augmenting material is reported, which is formed from calcium-loaded hydrogel-based spheres. On immersion of these spheres in a physiological medium, they become surrounded with a sheath of precipitate, which ruptures due to a build-up in osmotic pressure. This results in the formation of mineral tubes that protrude from the sphere surface. When brought into close contact with one another, these spheres become fused through the entanglement and subsequent interstitial mineralization of the mineral tubules. The tubular calcium phosphate induces the expression of osteogenic genes (runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), transcription factor SP7 (SP7), collagen type 1 alpha 1 (COL1A1), and bone gamma-carboxyglutamic acid-containing protein (BGLAP)) and promotes the formation of mineral nodules in preosteoblast cultures comparable to an apatitic calcium phosphate phase. Furthermore, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is significantly upregulated in the presence of tubular materials after 10 d in culture compared with control groups (p < 0.001) and sintered apatite (p < 0.05). This is the first report of a bioceramic material that is formed in its entirety in situ and is therefore likely to provide a better proxy for biological mineral than other existing synthetic alternatives to bone grafts.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1701166
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number7
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2018