Biomimetic hydrogels for controlled biomolecule delivery to augment bone regeneration

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2012 Sep;64(12):1078-89. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


The regeneration of large bone defects caused by trauma or disease remains a significant clinical problem. Although osteoinductive growth factors such as bone morphogenetic proteins have entered clinics, transplantation of autologous bone remains the gold standard to treat bone defects. The effective treatment of bone defects by protein therapeutics in humans requires quantities that exceed the physiological doses by several orders of magnitude. This not only results in very high treatment costs but also bears considerable risks for adverse side effects. These issues have motivated the development of biomaterials technologies allowing to better control biomolecule delivery from the solid phase. Here we review recent approaches to immobilize biomolecules by affinity binding or by covalent grafting to biomaterial matrices. We focus on biomaterials concepts that are inspired by extracellular matrix (ECM) biology and in particular the dynamic interaction of growth factors with the ECM. We highlight the value of synthetic, ECM-mimicking matrices for future technologies to study bone biology and develop the next generation of 'smart' implants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use*
  • Biomimetics
  • Bone Regeneration / physiology*
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins