Unlike proteins, peptides are small molecules comprised of a short native or synthetic oligomer and usually have an unstable three-dimensional structure.1 Peptides can mimic bioactive proteins and consequently stimulate complex cellular microenvironments to induce bone regeneration. Most commonly, peptides exert their effect through binding to specific high-affinity receptors on the respective target cells.
Using peptides as biomimetic materials has several advantages in comparison to native proteins2:
- Easier to manufacture
- Less immunogenic
- Longer half lives in vivo
- Less likely to exert multiple biologic activities
- Fixed at high density upon a substrate
Pountos et al. provide an in-depth discussion on the role of peptides in bone healing and regeneration in their systemic review published in 2016.1