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Connect Tissue Res. 1996;34(4):239-46.

Mineral characterization in calcifying tissues: atomic, molecular and macromolecular perspectives.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. LANDIS_W@A1.TCH.HARVARD.EDU


This paper presents a general overview of calcification and involves aspects of the chemical, physical, and biological nature of mineral crystals in invertebrate and vertebrate tissues, with selected examples of the latter. Two broad areas are described: mineral structure and composition. Mineral formation is detailed in an incidental fashion. Both classical research and recent data appropriate to mineralization studies are noted in order to convey basic principles, as well as the sense and direction of current investigations on the mineral phases of calcified tissues. In this context, novel analytical and imaging techniques from a number of different laboratories lately have helped characterize crystal size, shape, and composition; mineral association with respect to collagen; atomic lattice structure of crystal surfaces; interrelationships between non-collagenous matrix components and mineral; and stereochemical organization of putative matrix nucleation sites. Together, this work has provided a more complete understanding of the mineral-matrix atomic, molecular, and macromolecular interactions that underlie the general mechanism of calcification in biological tissues.

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