Calcium phosphates and silicon: exploring methods of incorporation

Ana I Rodrigues, Rui L Reis, Clemens A van Blitterswijk, Isabel B Leonor, Pamela Habibović*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Bioinorganics have been explored as additives to ceramic bone graft substitutes with the aim to improve their performance in repair and regeneration of large bone defects. Silicon (Si), an essential trace element involved in the processes related to bone formation and remodeling, was shown not only to enhance osteoblasts proliferation but also to stimulate the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and preosteoblasts into the osteogenic lineage. In this study, the added value of Si to calcium phosphate (CaP) coatings was evaluated.

METHODS: Tissue culture plastic well plates were coated with a thin CaP layer to which traces amounts of Si were added, either by adsorption or by incorporation through coprecipitation. The physicochemical and structural properties of the coatings were characterized and the dissolution behavior was evaluated. The adsorption/incorporation of Si was successfully achieved and incorporated ions were released from the CaP coatings. Human MSCs were cultured on the coatings to examine the effects of Si on cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. For the statistical analysis, a one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc test was performed.

RESULTS: The results showed that human MSCs (hMSCs) responded to the presence of Si in the CaP coatings, in a dose-dependent manner. An increase in the expression of markers of osteogenic differentiation by human MSCs was observed as a result of the increase in Si concentration.

CONCLUSIONS: The incorporation/adsorption of Si into CaP coatings was successfully achieved and hMSCs responded with an increase in osteogenic genes expression with the increase of Si concentration. Furthermore, hMSCs cultured on CaP-I coatings expressed higher levels of ALP and OP, indicating that this may be the preferred method of incorporation of bioinorganics into CaPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6
JournalBiomaterials research
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article

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