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Open Access Research article

Effect of nano-hydroxyapatite coating on the osteoinductivity of porous biphasic calcium phosphate ceramics

Jianzhong Hu1, Yongchun Zhou1, Lihua Huang2, Jun Liu3 and Hongbin Lu3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Spine Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, 410008, China

2 Center for Medical Experiments, Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, 410013, China

3 Department of Sports Medicine, Research Center of Sports Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, 410008, China

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:114  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-114

Published: 1 April 2014



Porous biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) ceramics exhibit good biocompatibility and bone conduction but are not inherently osteoinductive. To overcome this disadvantage, we coated conventional porous BCP ceramics with nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA). nHA was chosen as a coating material due to its high osteoinductive potential.


We used a hydrothermal deposition method to coat conventional porous BCP ceramics with nHA and assessed the effects of the coating on the physical and mechanical properties of the underlying BCP. Next, its effects on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) attachment, proliferation, viability, and osteogenic differentiation were investigated.


nHA formed a deposited layer on the BCP surface, and synthesized nHA had a rod-like shape with lengths ranging from ~50–200 nm and diameters from ~15–30 mm. The nHA coating did not significantly affect the density, porosity, flexural strength, or compressive strength of the underlying BCP (P > 0.1). Scanning electron microscopy showed MSC attachment to the scaffolds, with a healthy morphology and anchorage to nHA crystals via cytoplasmic processes. The densities of MSCs attached on BCP and nHA-coated BCP scaffolds were 62 ± 26 cells/mm2 and 63 ± 27 cells/mm2 (P > 0.1), respectively, after 1 day and 415 ± 62 cells/mm2 and 541 ± 35 cells/mm2 (P < 0.05) respectively, after 14 days. According to an MTT assay, MSC viability was higher on nHA-coated BCP scaffolds than on BCP scaffolds (P < 0.05). In addition, MSCs on nHA-coated BCP scaffolds produced more alkaline phosphatase, collagen type I, and osteocalcin than MSCs on BCP scaffolds (P < 0.05).


Our results demonstrate that BCP scaffolds coated with nHA were more conducive for MSC adhesion, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation than conventional, uncoated BCP scaffolds, indicating that nHA coating can enhance the osteoinductive potential of BCP ceramics, making this material more suitable for applications in bone tissue engineering.

Mesenchymal stem cell; Cell proliferation; Osteogenesis; Bone regeneration; Biocompatibility; Nanotopography