Various kinds of three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds have been designed to mimic the biological spontaneous bone formation characteristics by providing a suitable microenvironment for osteogenesis. In view of this, a natural bone-liked composite scaffold, which was combined with inorganic (hydroxyapatite, Hap) and organic (type I collagen, Col) phases, has been developed through a self-assembly process. This 3D porous scaffold consisting of a c-axis of Hap nanocrystals (nHap) aligning along Col fibrils arrangement is similar to natural bone architecture. A significant increase in mechanical strength and elastic modulus of nHap/Col scaffold is achieved through biomimetic mineralization process when compared with simple mixture of collagen and hydroxyapatite method. It is suggested that the self-organization of Hap and Col produced in vivo could also be achieved in vitro. The oriented nHap/Col composite not only possesses bone-like microstructure and adequate mechanical properties but also enhances the regeneration and reorganization abilities of bone tissue. These results demonstrated that biomimetic nHap/Col can be successfully reconstructed as a bone graft substitute in bone tissue engineering.
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