This study explores for the first time the application of ribose as a highly biocompatible agent for the crosslinking of hybrid mineralized constructs, obtained by bio-inspired mineralization of self-assembling Type I collagen matrix with magnesium-doped-hydroxyapatite nanophase, towards a biomimetic mineralized 3D scaffolds (MgHA/Coll) with excellent compositional and structural mimicry of bone tissue. To this aim, two different crosslinking mechanisms in terms of pre-ribose glycation (before freeze drying) and post-ribose glycation (after freeze drying) were investigated. The obtained results explicate that with controlled freeze-drying, highly anisotropic porous structures with opportune macro-micro porosity are obtained. The physical-chemical features of the scaffolds characterized by XRD, FTIR, ICP and TGA demonstrated structural mimicry analogous to the native bone. The influence of ribose greatly assisted in decreasing solubility and increased enzymatic resistivity of the scaffolds. In addition, enhanced mechanical behaviour in response to compressive forces was achieved. Preliminary cell culture experiments reported good cytocompatibility with extensive cell adhesion, proliferation and colonization. Overall, scaffolds developed by pre-ribose glycation process are preferred, as the related crosslinking technique is more facile and robust to obtain functional scaffolds. As a proof of concept, we have demonstrated that ribose crosslinking is cost-effective, safe and functionally effective. This study also offers new insights and opportunities in developing promising scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.
- Crosslinking and biomimicry