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Nanotechnology Reviews

Editor-in-Chief: Challa, S.S.R. Kumar

Ed. by Hamblin, Michael R. / Bianco, Alberto / Jin, Rongchao / Köhler, J. Michael / Hudait, Mantu K. / Dai, Ning / Lytton-Jean, Abigail / Xie, Jianping / Bryan, Lynn A. / Thiessen, Rose / Alexiou, Christoph / Lee, Jae-Seung / Delville, Marie-Helene / Yan, Ning / Baretzky, Brigitte / Burg, Thomas P. / Fenniri, Hicham / Yang, Jun / Hosmane, Narayan S. / Dufrene, Yves / Podila, Ramakrishna / Eswaramoorthy, Muthusamy

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Volume 2, Issue 4


Collagen/silica nanocomposites and hybrids for bone tissue engineering

Bapi Sarker
  • Institute of Biomaterials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Cauerstrasse 6, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Stefan Lyer
  • Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Section for Experimental Oncology and Nanomedicine (SEON), Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung-Professorship, University Hospital Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Andreas Arkudas
  • Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, University of Erlangen Medical Center, Krankenhausstrasse 12, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Aldo R. Boccaccini
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute of Biomaterials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Cauerstrasse 6, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-07-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ntrev-2013-0012


Collagen is increasingly attracting attention for bone tissue engineering applications. However, due to its low mechanical properties, applications including mechanical loads or requiring structural integrity are limited. To tackle this handicap, collagen can be combined with (nanoscale) silica in a variety of composite materials that are attractive for bone tissue engineering. Considering research carried out in the past 15 years, this article reviews the literature discussing the development of silica/collagen composites that have been synthesized by adding silica from different sources as inorganic bioactive material to collagen as organic matrix. Different routes for the fabrication of collagen/silica composites are presented, focusing on nanocomposites. In vitro cell bioactivity studies demonstrated the osteogenic and, in some cases, angiogenic potential of the composites. Relevant in vivo studies discussing integration of the materials in bone tissue are discussed. Due to the understanding of possible interaction between silicon species and collagen, the effect of different silica precursors on the collagen self-assembly process is also discussed. On the basis of literature results and as discussed in this review, collagen/silica nanocomposites and hybrids represent attractive biomaterials for bone regeneration applications.

Keywords: bioactivity; collagen; nanocomposite; osteogenesis; silica


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About the article

Bapi Sarker

Bapi Sarker, a DAAD fellow, is currently a PhD student at the Institute of Biomaterials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Previously he completed his BSc and MS in the Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has 2 years of research experience on biodegradable polymeric composite materials in the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. Currently, his research is focused on development of soft matrices for bone tissue engineering applications. He has 12 international peer-reviewed publications and 11 conference proceedings.

Stefan Lyer

Stefan Lyer studied Biology at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. After finishing his PhD thesis at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)/Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, he stayed as a postdoc at the Department of Genome Analysis at the DKFZ. In 2008 he moved back to Erlangen, starting a post doc position in the group of Prof. Christoph Alexiou at the ENT-Department of the University Hospital Erlangen, which was renamed the Section for Experimental Oncology and Nanomedicine (SEON) in 2009. Here, he focused on the application of nanoparticles in cancer therapy. Since 2011, he has been assistant group leader at SEON.

Andreas Arkudas

Andreas Arkudas is Head of the laboratory of the Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, Germany. He received his MD degree from the University of Hannover in 2004 and has been working since then in the field of bone tissue engineering. His main focus is on generation of axially vascularized bioartificial bone tissues in small-animal models in vivo. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon and is working as an attending plastic surgeon in the Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery at the Friedrich-Alexander-University.

Aldo R. Boccaccini

Aldo R. Boccaccini holds the Chair for Biomaterials at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Previously, he was Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, UK. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. Boccaccini holds a MEng degree from Instituto Balseiro (Argentina), a PhD (Dr-Ing.) from Aachen University of Technology (Germany) and Habilitation from Ilmenau University of Technology (Germany). He has held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Birmingham (UK), the University of California at San Diego (USA) and the Ilmenau University of Technology. In the past few years, he has developed extensive research activities in the area of scaffold materials for tissue engineering applications and has initiated the development of novel highly porous bioactive and degradable composite scaffolds combining bioactive glasses and biodegradable polymers. His achievements have been recognized with the awarded several international prizes, and he has been a visiting professor at different universities around the world, including Japan, Italy, Singapore, Germany, Slovenia, Argentina, Spain and Poland. He is also the editor-in-chief of the journal Materials Letters. He was recently elected member of the Reviewer Panel of the German Science Foundation (DFG).

Corresponding author: Aldo R. Boccaccini, Institute of Biomaterials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Cauerstrasse 6, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

Received: 2013-02-28

Accepted: 2013-05-22

Published Online: 2013-07-02

Published in Print: 2013-08-01

Citation Information: Nanotechnology Reviews, Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 427–447, ISSN (Online) 2191-9097, ISSN (Print) 2191-9089, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ntrev-2013-0012.

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