Bioinspired growth of crystalline carbonate apatite on biodegradable polymer substrata

Date Published:

2002 Mar 06


Mineralization in biological systems is a widespread, yet incompletely understood phenomenon involving complex interactions at the biomacromolecule-mineral nucleus interface. This study was aimed at understanding and controlling mineral formation in a poly(alpha-hydroxy ester) model system, to gain insight into biological mineralization processes and to develop biomaterials for orthopaedic tissue regeneration. We specifically hypothesized that providing a high surface density of anionic functional groups would enhance nucleation and growth of bonelike mineral following exposure to simulated body fluids (SBF). Polymer surface functionalization was achieved via hydrolysis of 85:15 poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) films. This treatment led to an increase in surface carboxylic acid and hydroxyl groups, resulting in a substantial increase in polymer surface energy from 42 to 49 dynes/cm2. Treated polymers exhibited a 3-fold increase in heterogeneous mineral grown and growth of a continuous mineral film on the polymer surface. The mineral grown on PLG surfaces is a carbonate apatite, the major mineral component of vertebrate bone tissue. Mineral crystal size and morphology were dependent on the solution characteristics but unaffected by the degree of surface prehydrolysis. The mechanism of heterogeneous carbonate apatite growth was examined via ion binding assays, which indicated that calcium binding is mediated independently by the presence of soluble phosphate counterions and surface functional groups. These findings indicate that poly(alpha-hydroxy ester) materials can be readily mineralized using a biomimetic process, and that the impetus for mineral nucleation in this system appears more complicated than the simple electrostatic interactions proposed in previous biomineralization theory.
Last updated on 09/29/2017