Theranostics 2017; 7(13):3387-3397. doi:10.7150/thno.19748 This issue

Research Paper

Bone-Inspired Spatially Specific Piezoelectricity Induces Bone Regeneration

Peng Yu1, 2, Chengyun Ning1, 2✉, Yu Zhang3, Guoxin Tan4, Zefeng Lin3, Shaoxiang Liu3, Xiaolan Wang3, Haoqi Yang3, Kang Li3, Xin Yi1, 2, Ye Zhu5, Chuanbin Mao5, 6✉

1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Key Laboratory of Guangdong Province, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510641, China;
2. Key Laboratory of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, China;
3. General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command of PLA, Guangzhou, 510010, China;
4. Institute of Chemical Engineering and Light Industry, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510006, China;
5. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman OK 73019, USA;
6. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Yu P, Ning C, Zhang Y, Tan G, Lin Z, Liu S, Wang X, Yang H, Li K, Yi X, Zhu Y, Mao C. Bone-Inspired Spatially Specific Piezoelectricity Induces Bone Regeneration. Theranostics 2017; 7(13):3387-3397. doi:10.7150/thno.19748. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The extracellular matrix of bone can be pictured as a material made of parallel interspersed domains of fibrous piezoelectric collagenous materials and non-piezoelectric non-collagenous materials. To mimic this feature for enhanced bone regeneration, a material made of two parallel interspersed domains, with higher and lower piezoelectricity, respectively, is constructed to form microscale piezoelectric zones (MPZs). The MPZs are produced using a versatile and effective laser-irradiation technique in which K0.5Na0.5NbO3 (KNN) ceramics are selectively irradiated to achieve microzone phase transitions. The phase structure of the laser-irradiated microzones is changed from a mixture of orthorhombic and tetragonal phases (with higher piezoelectricity) to a tetragonal dominant phase (with lower piezoelectricity). The microzoned piezoelectricity distribution results in spatially specific surface charge distribution, enabling the MPZs to bear bone-like microscale electric cues. Hence, the MPZs induce osteogenic differentiation of stem cells in vitro and bone regeneration in vivo even without being seeded with stem cells. The concept of mimicking the spatially specific piezoelectricity in bone will facilitate future research on the rational design of tissue regenerative materials.

Keywords: electrical cues, piezoelectricity, bone, tissue regeneration, stem cells.