Protein templates in hard tissue engineering
journal contributionposted on 01.03.2011, 00:00 by Anne George, Sriram Ravindran
Biomineralization processes such as formation of bones and teeth require controlled mineral deposition and self-assembly into hierarchical biocomposites with unique mechanical properties. Ideal biomaterials for regeneration and repair of hard tissues must be biocompatible, possess micro and macroporosity for vascular invasion, provide surface chemistry and texture that facilitate cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation of lineage specific progenitor cells, and induce deposition of calcium phosphate mineral. To expect in vivo like cellular response several investigators have used extracellular matrix proteins as templates to recreate in vivo microenvironment for the regeneration of hard tissues. Several novel methods of designing tissue repair and restoration materials using bioinspired strategies are currently being formulated. Nanoscale structured materials can be fabricated via the spontaneous organization of self-assembling proteins to construct hierarchically organized nanomaterials. The advantage of such a method is that polypeptides can be specifically designed as building blocks incorporated with molecular recognition features and spatially distributed bioactive ligands that would provide a physiological environment for cells in vitro and in vivo. This is a rapidly evolving area and provides a promising platform for future development of nanostructured templates for hard tissue engineering. In this review we try to highlight the importance of proteins as templates for regeneration and repair of hard tissues as well as the potential of peptide based nanomaterials for regenerative therapies.