Recent trends in the application of widely used natural and synthetic polymer nanocomposites in bone tissue regeneration

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2020 May;110:110698. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2020.110698. Epub 2020 Jan 29.


The goal of a biomaterial is to support the bone tissue regeneration process at the defect site and eventually degrade in situ and get replaced with the newly generated bone tissue. Nanocomposite biomaterials are a relatively new class of materials that incorporate a biopolymeric and biodegradable matrix structure with bioactive and easily resorbable fillers which are nano-sized. This article is a review of a few polymeric nanocomposite biomaterials which are potential candidates for bone tissue regeneration. These nanocomposites have been broadly classified into two groups viz. natural and synthetic polymer based. Natural polymer-based nanocomposites include materials fabricated through reinforcement of nanoparticles and/or nanofibers in a natural polymer matrix. Several widely used natural biopolymers, such as chitosan (CS), collagen (Col), cellulose, silk fibroin (SF), alginate, and fucoidan, have been reviewed regarding their present investigation on the incorporation of nanomaterial, biocompatibility, and tissue regeneration. Synthetic polymer-based nanocomposites that have been covered in this review include polycaprolactone (PCL), poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA), polyethylene glycol (PEG), poly (lactic acid) (PLA), and polyurethane (PU) based nanocomposites. An array of nanofillers, such as nano hydroxyapatite (nHA), nano zirconia (nZr), nano silica (nSi), silver nano particles (AgNPs), nano titanium dioxide (nTiO2), graphene oxide (GO), that is used widely across the bone tissue regeneration research platform are included in this review with respect to their incorporation into a natural and/or synthetic polymer matrix. The influence of nanofillers on cell viability, both in vitro and in vivo, along with cytocompatibility and new tissue generation has been encompassed in this review. Moreover, nanocomposite material characterization using some commonly used analytical techniques, such as electron microscopy, spectroscopy, diffraction patterns etc., has been highlighted in this review. Biomaterial physical properties, such as pore size, porosity, particle size, and mechanical strength which strongly influences cell attachment, proliferation, and subsequent tissue growth has been covered in this review. This review has been sculptured around a case by case basis of current research that is being undertaken in the field of bone regeneration engineering. The nanofillers induced into the polymeric matrix render important properties, such as large surface area, improved mechanical strength as well as stability, improved cell adhesion, proliferation, and cell differentiation. The selection of nanocomposites is thus crucial in the analysis of viable treatment strategies for bone tissue regeneration for specific bone defects such as craniofacial defects. The effects of growth factor incorporation on the nanocomposite for controlling new bone generation are also important during the biomaterial design phase.

Keywords: Biocompatibility; Biomaterial; Bone tissue regeneration; Nanocomposite; Nanofillers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Bone Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers