Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Bone defects that cannot "heal spontaneously during life" will become an ever greater health problem as populations age. Harvesting autografts has several drawbacks, such as pain and morbidity at both donor and acceptor sites, the limited quantity of material available, and frequently its inappropriate shape. Researchers have therefore developed alternative strategies that involve biomaterials to fill bone defects. These biomaterials must be biocompatible and interact with the surrounding bone tissue to allow their colonization by bone cells and blood vessels. The latest generation biomaterials are not inert; they control cell responses like adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. These biomaterials are called biomimetic materials. This review focuses on the development of third generation materials. We first briefly describe the bone tissue with its cells and matrix, and then how bone cells interact with the extracellular matrix. The next section covers the materials currently used to repair bone defects. Finally, we describe the strategies employed to modify the surface of materials, such as coating with hydroxyapatite and grafting biomolecules.