Biomimetic magnesium-carbonate-apatite nanocrystals endowed with strontium ions as anti-osteoporotic trigger

Michele Iafisco, Andrea Ruffini, Alessio Adamiano, Simone Sprio, Anna Tampieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The present work investigates the preparation of biomimetic nanocrystalline apatites co-substituted with Mg, CO3 and Sr to be used as starting materials for the development of nanostructured bio-devices for regeneration of osteoporotic bone. Biological-like amounts of Mg and CO3 ions were inserted in the apatite structure to mimic the composition of bone apatite, whereas the addition of increasing quantities of Sr ions, from 0 up to 12 wt.%, as anti-osteoporotic agent, was evaluated. The chemical-physical features, the morphology, the degradation rates, the ion release kinetics as well as the in vitro bioactivity of the as-prepared apatites were fully evaluated. The results indicated that the incorporation of 12 wt.% of Sr can be viewed as a threshold for the structural stability of Mg-CO3-apatite. Indeed, incorporation of lower quantity of Sr did not induce considerable variations in the chemical structure of Mg-CO3-apatite, while when the Sr doping extent reached 12 wt.%, a dramatically destabilizing effect was detected on the crystal structure thus yielding alteration of the symmetry and distortion of the PO 4. As a consequence, this apatite exhibited the fastest degradation kinetic and the highest amount of Sr ions released when tested in physiological conditions. In this respect, the surface crystallization of new calcium phosphate phase when immersed in physiological-like solution occurred by different mechanisms and extents due to the different structural chemistry of the variously doped apatites. Nevertheless, all the apatites synthesized in this work exhibited in vitro bioactivity demonstrating their potential use to develop biomedical devices with anti-osteoporotic functionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Apatite
  • In vitro bioactivity
  • Magnesium
  • Nanocrystals
  • Osteoporosis
  • Strontium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Medicine(all)


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