Regeneration of bone defects caused by trauma, infection, tumours or inherent genetic disorders is a clinical challenge that usually necessitates bone grafting materials. Autologous bone or autograft is still considered the clinical "gold standard" and the most effective method for bone regeneration. However, limited bone supply and donor site morbidity are the most important disadvantages of autografting. Improved biomaterials are needed to match the performance of autograft as this is still superior to that of synthetic bone grafts. Osteoinductive materials would be the perfect candidates for achieving this task. The aim of this article is to review the different groups of bone substitutes in terms of their most recently reported osteoinductive properties. The different factors influencing osteoinductivity by biomaterials as well as the mechanisms behind this phenomenon are also presented, showing that it is very limited compared to osteoinductivity shown by bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). Therefore, a new term to describe osteoinductivity by biomaterials is proposed. Different strategies for adding osteoinductivity (BMPs, stem cells) to bone substitutes are also discussed. The overall objective of this paper is to gather the current knowledge on osteoinductivity of bone grafting materials for the effective development of new graft substitutes that enhance bone regeneration.
Keywords: Bone biomaterials; Bone regeneration; Ectopic bone formation; Osteoinductivity; Review.
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