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Biocompatibility and Physico-Chemical Properties of Highly Porous PLA/HA Scaffolds for Bone Reconstruction

The major problem in bone tissue engineering is the development of scaffolds which can simultaneously meet the requirements of porous structure, as well as have the ability to guide the regeneration of damaged tissue by biological fixation. Composites containing biodegradable matrix and bioactive filler are the new hope in this research field. Herein we employed a simple and facile solvent casting particulate-leaching method for producing polylactide acid/hydroxyapatite (PLA/HA) composites at room temperature. FT-IR analysis confirmed the existence of necessary functional groups associated with the PLA/HA composite, whereas energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectra indicated the uniform distribution of hydroxyapatite particles in the polymer matrix. The beehive-like surface morphology of the composites revealed the presence of macropores, ranged from 300 to 400 μm, whereas the thickness of the pores was noticed to be 1–2 μm. The total porosity of the scaffolds, calculated by hydrostatic weighing, was found to be 79%. The water contact angle of pure PLA was decreased from 83.6 ± 1.91° to 62.4 ± 4.17° due to the addition of hydroxyapatite in the polymer matrix. Thus, the wettability of the polymeric biomaterial could be increased by preparing their composites with hydroxyapatite. The adhesion of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells over the surface of PLA/HA scaffolds was 3.2 times (p = 0.03) higher than the pure PLA sample. Subcutaneous implantation in mice demonstrated a good tolerance of all tested porous scaffolds and widespread ingrowth of tissue into the implant pores. HA-containing scaffolds showed a less pronounced inflammatory response after two weeks of implantation compared to pure PLA. These observations suggest that PLA/HA composites have enormous potential for hard tissue engineering and restoring maxillofacial defects.

Publication date: 09/12/2020

Author: Anna Zimina

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym12122938

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.