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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A novel self-assembled oligopeptide amphiphile for biomimetic mineralization of enamel

Quan-Li Li1*, Tian-Yun Ning2, Ying Cao12, Wei-bo Zhang1, May Lei Mei2 and Chun Hung Chu2*

Author Affiliations

1 College & Hospital of Stomatology, Anhui Medical University, 230032 Hefei, China

2 Faculty of Dentistry, the University of Hong Kong, 34 Hospital Road, Hong Kong, China

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:32  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-32

Published: 27 April 2014



Researchers are looking for biomimetic mineralization of ena/mel to manage dental erosion. This study evaluated biomimetic mineralization of demineralized enamel induced by a synthetic and self-assembled oligopeptide amphiphile (OPA).


The results showed that the OPA self-assembled into nano-fibres in the presence of calcium ions and in neutral acidity. The OPA was alternately immersed in calcium chloride and sodium hypophosphate solutions to evaluate its property of mineralization. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed nucleation and growth of amorphous calcium phosphate along the self-assembled OPA nano-fibres when it was repetitively exposed to solutions with calcium and phosphate ions. Energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) confirmed that these nano-particles contained calcium and phosphate. Furthermore, electron diffraction pattern suggested that the nano-particles precipitated on OPA nano-fibres were comparable to amorphous calcium phosphate. Acid-etched human enamel slices were incubated at 37°C in metastable calcium phosphate solution with the OPA for biomimetic mineralization. SEM and X-ray diffraction indicated that the OPA induced the formation of hydroxyapatite crystals in organized bundles on etched enamel. TEM micrographs revealed there were 20–30 nm nano-amorphous calcium phosphate precipitates in the biomimetic mineralizing solution. The particles were found separately bound to the oligopeptide fibres. Biomimetic mineralization with or without the oligopeptide increased demineralized enamel microhardness.


A novel OPA was successfully fabricated, which fostered the biomimetic mineralization of demineralized enamel. It is one of the primary steps towards the design and construction of novel biomaterial for future clinical therapy of dental erosion.

Amelogenin; Peptide; Remineralization; Enamel; Biomimetic; Mineralization; Self-assemble