Natural and synthetic materials for the regeneration of osseous tissue
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Bone is a complex tissue with many regulation mechanisms which can be taken advantage of through the release of simple signaling molecules delivered via a biodegradable material like a hydrogel. Hydrogels are water swollen networks that have similar properties to biological tissues. Synthetic hydrogels have problems with toxic leaching and commonly being non-biodegradable, however their properties are more easily controlled. Natural hydrogels tend to be weak and unpredictable under biological conditions, but are typically more biocompatible. This review compares three synthetic hydrogels to three natural hydrogels discussing each composition's strengths and weaknesses. Experimentally, our goal was to create a biocompatible hydrogel that can withstand the forces that would be placed on it if injected into osteoporotic bone.