Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications

Hydrogel/bioactive glass composites for bone regeneration applications: synthesis and characterisation.

PMID 23910334


Due to the deficiencies of current commercially available biological bone grafts, alternative bone graft substitutes have come to the forefront of tissue engineering in recent times. The main challenge for scientists in manufacturing bone graft substitutes is to obtain a scaffold that has sufficient mechanical strength and bioactive properties to promote formation of new tissue. The ability to synthesise hydrogel based composite scaffolds using photopolymerisation has been demonstrated in this study. The prepared hydrogel based composites were characterised using techniques including Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX), rheological studies and compression testing. In addition, gel fraction, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), porosity and swelling studies of the composites were carried out. It was found that these novel hydrogel bioglass composite formulations did not display the inherent brittleness that is typically associated with bioactive glass based bone graft materials and exhibited enhanced biomechanical properties compared to the polyethylene glycol hydrogel scaffolds along. Together, the combination of enhanced mechanical properties and the deposition of apatite on the surface of these hydrogel based composites make them an ideal candidate as bone graft substitutes in cancellous bone defects or low load bearing applications.