Multiphase Intrafibrillar Mineralization of Collagen


  • This research was supported by grant R01 DE015306-06 from NIDCR (to D.H.P.), ERA and IRRM awards from Georgia Health Sciences University (to F.R.T.), National Nature Science Foundation of China grant 81130078 (to J.H.C.), and National Key Basic Research Program of China grant 2012CB526704 (to J.H.C.). The murine mesenchymal stem cell line employed in this study was provided by the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Scott & White Hospital through grant P40-RR-017447 from the National Center for Research Resources, U.S. National Institutes of Health. We thank Frankie Chan from the University of Hong Kong for his help in STEM–EDX analysis.


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Why waste space? In the first stage of the multiphase biomineralization of collagen, silicic acid precursors (purple) infiltrated the collagen fibril (yellow) and condensed into amorphous silica to give a hierarchical composite. Amorphous calcium phosphate precursors (red) then filled the intrafibrillar spaces of the silicified collagen, where the precipitation and maturation of apatite crystallites (blue) occurred to complete the process.