As a first step toward the design and fabrication of biomimetic bonelike composite materials, we have developed a template-driven nucleation and mineral growth process for the high-affinity integration of hydroxyapatite with a poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) hydrogel scaffold. A mineralization technique was developed that exposes carboxylate groups on the surface of cross-linked pHEMA, promoting high-affinity nucleation and growth of calcium phosphate on the surface, along with extensive calcification of the hydrogel interior. Robust surface mineral layers a few microns thick were obtained. The same mineralization technique, when applied to a hydrogel that is less prone to surface hydrolysis, led to distinctly different mineralization patterns, in terms of both the extent of mineralization and the crystallinity of the apatite grown on the hydrogel surface. This template-driven mineralization technique provides an efficient approach toward bonelike composites with high mineral-hydrogel interfacial adhesion strength.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jie_song/30/