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Bone is the most implanted tissue after blood. The major solid components of human bone are collagen (a natural polymer, also found in skin and tendons) and a substituted hydroxyapatite (a natural ceramic, also found in teeth). Although these two components when used separately provide a relatively successful mean of augmenting bone growth, the composite of the two natural materials exceeds this success. This paper provides a review of the most common routes to the fabrication of collagen (Col) and hydroxyapatite (HA) composites for bone analogues. The regeneration of diseased or fractured bones is the challenge faced by current technologies in tissue engineering. Hydroxyapatite and collagen composites (Col-HA) have the potential in mimicking and replacing skeletal bones. Both in vivo and in vitro studies show the importance of collagen type, mineralisation conditions, porosity, manufacturing conditions and crosslinking. The results outlined on mechanical properties, cell culturing and de-novo bone growth of these devices relate to the efficiency of these to be used as future bone implants. Solid free form fabrication where a mould can be built up layer by layer, providing shape and internal vascularisation may provide an improved method of creating composite structures.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Cell Mater

Publication Date





43 - 56


Animals, Bone Regeneration, Bone Substitutes, Collagen Type I, Durapatite, Humans, Tissue Culture Techniques, Tissue Engineering