Complex nanoparticles could increase osteogenesis in implants

Graphene has found widespread applications in the field of bone tissue engineering due to its favorable physical and biological properties. Furthermore, the unique properties of graphene, including the large surface area and flexibility of surface functionalization, make it a potential candidate for applications in bone tissue engineering.

Study: Graphene-decorated strontium functionalized with bovine serum albumin as a potent complex nanoparticle for bone tissue engineering. Image credit: Iaremenko Sergii/

A paper recently published in Scientific Reports discussed a novel method to synthesize and decorate strontium (Sr) nanoparticles on the surface of graphene oxide (GO) through a reduction process using bovine serum albumin (BSA) for the its applications in bone tissue engineering.

The obtained nanosheets were characterized by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Raman spectroscopy techniques, and the results showed that BSA could successfully reduce GO by facilitating the decoration of Sr Nanoparticles on reduced GO (rGO).

Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirmed that the strontium nanoparticles ranged in diameter from 25 to 30 nanometers. Furthermore, MC3T3-E1 cells showed higher cell viability when treated with rGO nanosheet-based strontium nanoparticles compared to those treated with GO and BSA-rGO at constant concentration.

In addition, the alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of Sr nanoparticles based on BSA-rGO nanosheets was higher than GO and BSA-rGO. The expression of Col1 and RUNX 2 genes in MC3T3-E1 cells increased when they were treated with Sr nanoparticles based on BSA -rGO nanosheets. Thus, the present study demonstrated that Sr nanoparticles based on BSA -rGO nanosheets could regenerate tissues in bone tissue engineering.

Nanomaterials for bone tissue engineering

The field of bone tissue engineering came to light almost three decades ago. There has been great progress in bone tissue engineering with exponentially increasing research. Bone tissue engineering focuses on alternative treatment options to eliminate problems with clinically used treatments, such as donor site morbidity, limited availability, immune rejection, and pathogen transfer.

Bone tissue engineering requires the collaborative efforts of scientists, engineers, and surgeons to achieve this goal of creating bone grafts that enhance bone repair and regeneration. Advances in nanotechnology have led to the development of several novel nanodevices and nanosystems based on the design and integration of functionalized nanomaterials.

For this purpose, derivatives of the graphene family are used to manufacture synthetic nanobiomaterials. GO nanosheets are the hydrophilic version of graphene sheets consisting of sp2 hybridized carbon atoms. On the other hand, rGO is biocompatible with high reaction sites and minimal toxicity and can exhibit increased osteogenic capacity, which is crucial in bone tissue engineering.

The large surface area of ​​graphene sheets facilitates the synthesis of Sr nanoparticles on the graphene surface through the simultaneous reduction of GO and Sr nanoparticles. In addition, previous studies showed that Sr nanoparticles based on BSA -rGO nanosheets could be used in bone tissue engineering due to the enhanced strength of graphene.

Graphene-decorated Sr nanoparticles functionalized with BSA for bone tissue engineering

In the present work, simultaneous BSA-based reduction of GO and Sr nitrate resulted in Sr nanoparticle-decorated graphene nanosheets, which can be applied to bone tissue engineering. In these nanosheets, Sr nanoparticles were decorated on the surface of rGO nanosheets, and the BSA used for reduction acts as a steric hindrance to block the reshaped rGO nanosheets after reduction.

The presence of the Sr nanoparticles on the rGO surface was confirmed by different methods. As ALP is an important factor in bone tissue engineering, the effect of Sr nanoparticles based on BSA-rGO nanosheets on osteoblast cell line proliferation and ALP activity was studied to understand the potential of the prepared nanosheets. In addition, COL1 and RUNX2 gene expressions were confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The UV-vis spectrum showed the characteristic peaks of GO at 225 and 310 nm which were attributed to π-π and n-π interactions, respectively. Also, in rGO, the peak at 232 nm shifted to 260 nm and the intensity of the peak at 310 nm decreased significantly.

The FTIR spectra of GO showed peaks at 3386, 1728 and 1615 cm inverse corresponding to hydroxyl (OH), carbonyl (C=O) and alkene (C=C) bonds. The inverse peaks at 1050 and 1224 cm correspond to the C–O stretching vibration while the inverse peak at 1376 cm corroborated the C–O strain vibration.

On the other hand, the rGO FTIR spectra showed an inverse peak at 630 cm corresponding to the mixing vibration of the amide (O = C-NH) which corroborates the binding of BSA with the GO compound. A new inverse peak at 2850 cm corresponds to C–H stretching vibrations in the BSA methylene functional group.


In summary, a facile approach towards the BSA-mediated synthesis of rGO nanosheets decorated with Sr nanoparticles was demonstrated for application in bone tissue engineering. Raman, UV-Vis, XRD and FTIR spectroscopy results confirmed the role of BSA in the reduction and decoration of Sr nanoparticles on the surface of the rGO nanosheet.

In addition, FESEM and TEM images confirmed the deposition of Sr nanoparticles on BSA-rGO. ALP activity, which is an important factor for bone tissue engineering, was higher in MC3T3-E1 cells treated with Sr nanoparticle-based rGO nanosheets than BSA-rGO and GO.

In addition, Sr nanoparticles based on BSA-rGO nanosheets showed better cell viability than BSA-rGO and GO via 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]- Diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) test. Thus, the present work demonstrated a new approach for the application of nanomaterials in the field of bone tissue engineering.


Akbari, H., Askari, E., Naghib, SM, Salehi, Z. (2022) Graphene-decorated strontium functionalized with bovine serum albumin as a potent complex nanoparticle for bone tissue engineering. Scientific reports.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed privately and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of Use for this website.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *