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Development of nano-sized hydroxyapatite reinforced composites for tissue engineering scaffolds

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Nano-sized hydroxyapatite (nanoHA) reinforced composites, mimicking natural bone, were produced. Examination by transmission electron microscopy revealed that the nanoHA particles had a rod-like morphology, 20–30 nm in width and 50–80 nm in length. The phase composition of hydroxyapatite was confirmed by X-ray diffraction. The nanoHA particles were incorporated into poly-2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate (PHEMA)/polycaprolactone (PCL) matrix to make new nanocomposites: nanoHA-PHEMA/PCL. Porous nanocomposite scaffolds were then produced using a porogen leaching method. The interconnectivity of the porous structure of the scaffolds was revealed by non-destructive X-ray microtomography. Porosity of 84% was achieved and pore sizes were approximately around 300–400 μm. An in vitro study found that the nanocomposites were bioactive as indicated by the formation of a bone-like apatite layer after immersion in simulated body fluid. Furthermore, the nanocomposites were able to support the growth and proliferation of primary human osteoblast (HOB) cells. HOB cells developed a well organized actin cytoskeletal protein on the nanocomposite surface. The results demonstrate the potential of the nanocomposite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications for bone repair.

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Financial support from the EC for the DISC project (G5RD-CT-2000–00267) and EPSRC UK are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Jie Huang.

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Huang, J., Lin, Y.W., Fu, X.W. et al. Development of nano-sized hydroxyapatite reinforced composites for tissue engineering scaffolds. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 18, 2151–2157 (2007).

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