New filling material for bone defects
Scientists from Tokyo Medical and Dental University have discovered a new type of bone repair material that could be used to more precisely repair bone defects.
TSUKUBA, Japan, June 27, 2022 – (ACN Newswire) – Ceramics and metals have been used for some time as structural materials to repair bones and joints. In the past, scientists have designed materials that are bioinert, which do not bind directly to bone; bioactive materials that can bind to bone; and bio-absorbable materials which are classified as bioactive materials but which are absorbed by the body over time and are replaced by the advancement of bone tissue.
Today, a fourth type of bone repair material has been discovered: a biosensitive ceramic that interacts with an enzyme present in the blood to be absorbed by the body at a precise and predictable rate.
The research was carried out by Taishi Yokoi, an associate professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and his colleagues. The study was published in May in Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.
“Extending healthy life expectancy is an important issue for all of us,” Yokoi says. “Bone repair materials aid in the recovery of bone defects and help improve quality of life.”
At the heart of this discovery is a biological reaction: an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which is present in human serum and reacts with various phosphate esters to generate a bone mineral called hydroxyapatite.
The scientists mimicked this process using a simulated bodily fluid that contained the ALP enzyme. They placed four different salts in a simulated body fluid that either contained or lacked the ALP enzyme. The salts were calcium salts of methyl phosphate (CaMeP), ethyl phosphate (CaEtP), butyl phosphate (CaBuP) and dodecyl phosphate (CaDoP). The phosphate component of each of these salts has an alkyl group at its end – a chain made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms – of different lengths.
The scientists found that the first three salts were converted to hydroxyapatite, but only in the presence of ALP. Interestingly, the length of the alkyl group on the phosphate ester determined the rate at which this reaction occurs. With more research, scientists think it could allow for better control of the bone healing process in the body.
“We hope that the results of this study will be applied to the design and development of new bone repair materials with precisely controlled degradation and resorption rates inside the body,” Yokoi says.
Tokyo Medical and Dental University
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Press release distributed by Asia Research News for Advanced Materials Science and Technology.