Self-Hardening Calcium Phosphate Composite Scaffold for Bone Tissue Engineering
Calcium phosphate cement (CPC) sets in situ to form solid hydroxyapatite, can conform to complex cavity shapes without machining, has excellent osteoinductivity, and is able to be resorbed and replaced by new bone. Therefore, CPC is promising for craniofacial and orthopaedic repairs. However, its low strength and lack of macroporosity limit its use. This study investigated CPC reinforcement with absorbable fibers, the effects of fiber volume fraction on mechanical properties and macroporosity, and the biocompatibility of CPC-fiber composite. The liquid phase of CPC in this study was the weak acidic solution of chitosan. Chitosan has favourable biocompatibility, which has high viscosity in solution. The incorporation of chitosan could improve the handling properties of CPC. The liquid phase contained citric acid could strongly improve the hydration rate of CPC, which shortened the setting time and increased the compressive strength of CPC. In addition, the weak acidic environment around the biomaterials could accelerate the degradation of CPC, which was important to bone tissue engineering. The rationale was that large-diameter absorbable fibers would initially strengthen the CPC graft, then dissolve to form long cylindrical macropores for colonization by osteoblasts. Compressive strength was measured vs. fiber volume fraction from 0% (CPC Control without fibers) to 70%. Animal experiment showed that the material had osteoinductivity and biodegradability when the material was implanted into the muscle pouches in the thigh of rabbits. Compressive strength (mean ± SD; n=3) of CPC with 70% fibers was 0.8± 0.1 MPa. Long cylindrical macropores 100~300 μm in diameter were created in CPC after fiber dissolution, and the CPC-fiber scaffold reached a total porosity of 75.1±1.2% with 70% fibers. The new CPC-fiber formulation had good potentiality of ectopic bone induction. The method of using large-diameter absorbable fibers in bone graft for mechanical properties and formation of long cylindrical macropores for bone ingrowth may be applicable to other tissue engineering materials.
Yansheng Yin and Xin Wang
H. Liu and C. R. Zhou, "Self-Hardening Calcium Phosphate Composite Scaffold for Bone Tissue Engineering ", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 79-82, pp. 19-22, 2009