chapter  9

Nanoparticles for Bone Tissue Engineering

WithCristiana Gonçalves, Isabel M. Oliveira, Rui L. Reis, Joaquim M. Oliveira

Nanoparticles (NPs) can be from natural or anthropogenic sources. There are countless naturally occurring examples. Self-assembly in biology plays several important roles and triggers the formation of a wide variety of complex biological structures. Anthropogenic NPs are man-made and, similar to the naturally occurring ones, are very wide-ranging, being created through well-designed fabrication processes. Anthropogenic NPs can be classified into four subtypes: carbon-based materials, metal-based materials, dendrimers and composites. The incidence of bone disorders and other conditions around the globe has been growing, mostly due to aging together with obesity and poor physical activity. Bones are vascularized living tissues, known by their role in providing the body with shape and support, recognized by its complexity and for being in a constant process of renewal. There is plenty of room for new approaches that apply the NPs’ potential in tailoring the treatment of bone defects.