One of the desired properties for any new biomaterial composition is its long-term stability in a suitable animal model and such property cannot be appropriately assessed by performing short-term implantation studies. While hydroxyapatite (HA) or bioglass coated metallic biomaterials are being investigated for in vivo biocompatibility properties, such study is not extensively being pursued for bulk glass ceramics. In view of their inherent brittle nature, the implant stability as well as impact of long-term release of metallic ions on bone regeneration have been a major concern. In this perspective, the present article reports the results of the in vivo implantation experiments carried out using 100% strontium (Sr)-substituted glass ceramics with the nominal composition of 4.5 SiO2 -3Al2 O3 -1.5P2 O5 -3SrO-2SrF2 for 26 weeks in cylindrical bone defects in rabbit model. The combination of histological and micro-computed tomography analysis provided a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the bone regeneration around the glass ceramic implants in comparison to the highly bioactive HA bioglass implants (control). The sequential polychrome labeling of bone during in vivo osseointegration using three fluorochromes followed by fluorescence microscopy observation confirmed homogeneous bone formation around the test implants. The results of the present study unequivocally confirm the long-term implant stability as well as osteoconductive property of 100% Sr-substituted glass ceramics, which is comparable to that of a known bioactive implant, that is, HA-based bioglass.
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