Supramolecular self-assembling peptides to deliver bone morphogenetic proteins for skeletal regeneration

Charlotte H. Chen, Erin L. Hsu, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Recombinant human bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have shown clinical success in promoting bone healing, but they are also associated with unwanted side effects. The development of improved BMP carriers that can retain BMP at the defect site and maximize its efficacy would decrease the therapeutic BMP dose and thus improve its safety profile. In this review, we discuss the advantages of using self-assembling peptides, a class of synthetic supramolecular biomaterials, to deliver recombinant BMPs. Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) are a broad class of self-assembling peptides, and the use of PAs for BMP delivery and bone regeneration has been explored extensively over the past decade. Like many self-assembling peptide systems, PAs can be designed to form nanofibrous supramolecular biomaterials in which molecules are held together by non-covalent bonds. Chemical and biological functionality can be added to PA nanofibers, through conjugation of chemical moieties or biological epitopes to PA molecules. For example, PA nanofibers have been designed to bind heparan sulfate, a natural polysaccharide that is known to bind BMPs and potentiate their signal. Alternatively, PA nanofibers have been designed to synthetically mimic the structure and function of heparan sulfate, or to directly bind BMP specifically. In small animal models, these bio-inspired PA materials have shown the capacity to promote bone regeneration using BMP at doses 10–100 times lower than established therapeutic doses. These promising results have motivated further evaluation of PAs in large animal models, where their safety and efficacy must be established before clinical translation. We conclude with a discussion on the possiblity of combining PAs with other materials used in orthopaedic surgery to maximize their utility for clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115565
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • BMP-2 delivery
  • Biomaterials
  • Self-assembling peptides
  • Supramolecular biomaterials
  • Synthetic biomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


Dive into the research topics of 'Supramolecular self-assembling peptides to deliver bone morphogenetic proteins for skeletal regeneration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this