To fabricate hard tissue implants with bone-like structure using a biomimetic mineralization method is drawing much more attentions in bone tissue engineering. The present work focuses in designing 3D silk fibroin hydrogel to modulate the nucleation and growth of hydroxyapatite crystals via a simple ion diffusion method. The study indicates that Ca(2+) incorporation within the hydrogel provides the nucleation sites for hydroxyapatite crystals and subsequently regulates their oriented growth. The mineralization process is regulated in a Ca(2+) concentration- and minerlization time-dependent way. Further, the compressive strength of the mineralized hydrogels is directly proportional with the mineral content in hydrogel. The orchestrated organic/inorganic composite supports well the viability and proliferation of human osteoblast cells; improved cyto-compatibility with increased mineral content. Together, the present investigation reports a simple and biomimetic process to fabricate 3D bone-like biomaterial with desired efficacy to repair bone defects.
Keywords: Biomaterials; Bone tissue engineering; Crystal growth; Hydrogel; Hydroxyapatite; Silk fibroin.
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