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Science. 2018 May 4;360(6388). pii: eaao2189. doi: 10.1126/science.aao2189.

Fractal-like hierarchical organization of bone begins at the nanoscale.

Author information

1
Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK.
2
Department of Physics, University of York, Heslington, York, UK.
3
4D LABS, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
4
York JEOL Nanocentre, Science Park, York, UK.
5
Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK. roland.kroger@york.ac.uk m.stevens@imperial.ac.uk.
6
Department of Physics, University of York, Heslington, York, UK. roland.kroger@york.ac.uk m.stevens@imperial.ac.uk.

Abstract

The components of bone assemble hierarchically to provide stiffness and toughness. However, the organization and relationship between bone's principal components-mineral and collagen-has not been clearly elucidated. Using three-dimensional electron tomography imaging and high-resolution two-dimensional electron microscopy, we demonstrate that bone mineral is hierarchically assembled beginning at the nanoscale: Needle-shaped mineral units merge laterally to form platelets, and these are further organized into stacks of roughly parallel platelets. These stacks coalesce into aggregates that exceed the lateral dimensions of the collagen fibrils and span adjacent fibrils as continuous, cross-fibrillar mineralization. On the basis of these observations, we present a structural model of hierarchy and continuity for the mineral phase, which contributes to the structural integrity of bone.

PMID:
29724924
PMCID:
PMC6037297
DOI:
10.1126/science.aao2189
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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