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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2013 Apr;101(4):1080-94. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34394. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Preparation and characterization of collagen-nanohydroxyapatite biocomposite scaffolds by cryogelation method for bone tissue engineering applications.

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INEB-Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal.


Recent efforts of bone repair focus on development of porous scaffolds for cell adhesion and proliferation. Collagen-nanohydroxyapatite (HA) scaffolds (70:30; 50:50; and 30:70 mass percentage) were produced by cryogelation technique using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl aminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride/N-hydroxysuccinimide as crosslinking agents. A pure collagen scaffold was used as control. Morphology analysis revealed that all cryogels had highly porous structure with interconnective porosity and the nanoHA aggregates were randomly dispersed throughout the scaffold structure. Chemical analysis showed the presence of all major peaks related to collagen and HA in the biocomposites and indicated possible interaction between nanoHA aggregates and collagen molecules. Porosity analysis revealed an enhancement in the surface area as the nanoHA percentage increased in the collagen structure. The biocomposites showed improved mechanical properties as the nanoHA content increased in the scaffold. As expected, the swelling capacity decreased with the increase of nanoHA content. In vitro studies with osteoblasts cells showed that they were able to attach and spread in all cryogels surfaces. The presence of collagen-nanoHA biocomposites resulted in higher overall cellular proliferation compared to pure collagen scaffold. A statistically significant difference between collagen and collagen-nanoHA cryogels was observed after 21 day of cell culture. These innovative collagen-nanoHA cryogels could have potentially appealing application as scaffolds for bone regeneration.

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