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Mar. Drugs 2014, 12(7), 4231-4246; doi:10.3390/md12074231

Understanding Nanocalcification: A Role Suggested for Crystal Ghosts

La Sapienza University, Policlinico Umberto I, Viale Regina Elena 324, Rome 00161, Italy
Received: 19 June 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biomaterials)
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Abstract

The present survey deals with the initial stage of the calcification process in bone and other hard tissues, with special reference to the organic-inorganic relationship and the transformation that the early inorganic particles undergo as the process moves towards completion. Electron microscope studies clearly exclude the possibility that these particles might be crystalline structures, as often believed, by showing that they are, instead, organic-inorganic hybrids, each comprising a filamentous organic component (the crystal ghost) made up of acidic proteins. The hypothesis is suggested that the crystal ghosts bind and stabilize amorphous calcium phosphate and that their subsequent degradation allows the calcium phosphate, once released, to acquire a hydroxyapatite, crystal-like organization. A conclusive view of the mechanism of biological calcification cannot yet be proposed; even so, however, the role of crystal ghosts as a template of the structures usually called “crystallites” is a concept that has gathered increasing support and can no longer be disregarded. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomineralization; bone; calcification; crystal ghosts; crystallites; electron microscopy; organic-inorganic relationships; templates biomineralization; bone; calcification; crystal ghosts; crystallites; electron microscopy; organic-inorganic relationships; templates
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Bonucci, E. Understanding Nanocalcification: A Role Suggested for Crystal Ghosts. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 4231-4246.

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