Biomineralization of Polymer Scaffolds


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Bioceramics are an important subclass of inorganic, non-metallic biomaterials. Attributing to their bioactivity and the ability to form bonds with native bone, bioceramics are increasingly used in medical implants, especially for bone repair and regeneration. With chemical composition similar to that of native bone, hydroxyapatite (HAp), a type of bioceramics, may impart to biomaterial implants biocompatibility, osteoconductivity, as well as surface properties that are germane to osteointegration at the bone-implant interface. However, porous bioceramics are very brittle and have low fracture toughness and compressive strength, which limits their uses as bulk materials for orthopedic implants. Increasing their mechanical strength by reducing the porosity may prevent tissue infiltration, therefore, bone regeneration. In comparison, polymers may mimic the mechanical properties of native bone, however, may lack the appropriate surface properties to seamlessly integrate with natural bone. There is a critical need to combine the bulk properties of polymers with the surface properties of bioceramics in the design of functional scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. There are several ways to incorporate bioceramics on scaffold surfaces, including plasma spraying, sputter coating, physical adsorption, laser deposition, and biomineralization. Biomineralization, which allows easy fabrication of bioceramics under physiological conditions, provides an effective means to produce bonelike minerals, e.g., HAp, on scaffold surfaces. By following the cascade of biological mineralization in vivo, biomineralization in vitro on polymers may be achieved using several different methods, including immersion in simulated body fluid (SBF), alternative soaking in calcium and phosphate solutions, urea-mediated solution mineralization, enzymatic method, and direct incorporation of HAp nanoparticles into polymers. The uniformity, structure, and composition of the bioceramic coatings can be fine-tuned by governing bimineralization parameters such as composition and concentration of the immersion solution, immersion time, temperature, and agitation. A variety of surface modification techniques can be chosen to functionalize/activate polymer surfaces to facilitate biomineralization. In this review, the mechanism for biomineralization in vivo, different mechanisms and methods for biomineralization in vitro, surface modifications for enhanced biomineralization, polymers for biomineralization, and biomineralization for drug delivery will be discussed in details.



Edited by:

M. Vallet-Regí and M. Vila






E. Katsanevakis et al., "Biomineralization of Polymer Scaffolds", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 441, pp. 269-295, 2010

Online since:

June 2010




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