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Int J Nanomedicine. 2012;7:4545-57. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S34127. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Nanoparticles and their potential for application in bone.

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Institute of Orthopedic Research and Biomechanics, Centre of Musculoskeletal Research, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.


Biomaterials are commonly applied in regenerative therapy and tissue engineering in bone, and have been substantially refined in recent years. Thereby, research approaches focus more and more on nanoparticles, which have great potential for a variety of applications. Generally, nanoparticles interact distinctively with bone cells and tissue, depending on their composition, size, and shape. Therefore, detailed analyses of nanoparticle effects on cellular functions have been performed to select the most suitable candidates for supporting bone regeneration. This review will highlight potential nanoparticle applications in bone, focusing on cell labeling as well as drug and gene delivery. Labeling, eg, of mesenchymal stem cells, which display exceptional regenerative potential, makes monitoring and evaluation of cell therapy approaches possible. By including bioactive molecules in nanoparticles, locally and temporally controlled support of tissue regeneration is feasible, eg, to directly influence osteoblast differentiation or excessive osteoclast behavior. In addition, the delivery of genetic material with nanoparticulate carriers offers the possibility of overcoming certain disadvantages of standard protein delivery approaches, such as aggregation in the bloodstream during systemic therapy. Moreover, nanoparticles are already clinically applied in cancer treatment. Thus, corresponding efforts could lead to new therapeutic strategies to improve bone regeneration or to treat bone disorders.


applications; bone; cell labeling; drug delivery; gene delivery; nanoparticles

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