Bioactive Poly(Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid)-Calcium Phosphate Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration
Popp, Jenni Rebecca
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Bone is currently the second most transplanted tissue, second only to blood. However, significant hurdles including graft supply and implant failure continue to plague researchers and clinicians. Currently, standard clinical procedures include autologous and allogeneic grafting. Autologous grafts may achieve functional repair; yet, they are available in limited supply and are associated with donor site morbidity. Allogeneic grafts are available in greater supply, but have a higher risk of infection. To overcome the disadvantages of current grafts, tissue engineering has become a major focus for the regeneration of bone. The goal of tissue engineering is to use a multidisciplinary approach to create biomimetic constructs that stimulate osteogenic regeneration to heal bone defects and restore tissue function. Biodegradable scaffolds are used in tissue engineering strategies as an interim template for tissue regeneration. The scaffold architecture provides mechanical support for cell attachment and tissue regeneration. Biocompatible poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) has been processed through a number of techniques to create porous 3D architectures. Hydroxyapatite (HAP) and tricalcium phosphate have been used in conjunction with polymer scaffolds due to their osteoconductivity and biocompatibility, but they often lack osteoinductivity and are resistant to biodegradation. Conversely, amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) is a mineral that solubilizes under aqueous conditions, releasing calcium and phosphate ions, which have been postulated to enhance osteoblast differentiation and mineralization. Controlled dissolution can be achieved by stabilizing ACP with divalent cations such as zinc or copper. Furthermore, incorporation of such osteogenic ACPs within a biodegradable PLGA scaffold could enhance the osteoconductivity of the scaffold while providing calcium and phosphate ions to differentiating osteoprogenitor cells, thereby stimulating osteogenesis when implanted in vivo. In this research, the effect of zinc on the differentiation of osteoprogenitor cells was investigated. Zinc supplementation of the culture media had no stimulatory effect on cell proliferation or differentiation. ACPs were synthesized using zirconium (ZrACP) and zinc (ZnACP) as stabilizers to achieve sustained ion release. Elevated concentrations suggested sustained ion release over the course of 96 hours and enhanced solubility of ZrACP and ZnACP. X-ray diffraction analysis showed a conversion of ZrACP to a semi-crystalline material after 96 hours, but ZnACP showed no conversion after 96 hours. Composite scaffolds were fabricated by incorporating HAP, zirconium-stabilized ACP (ZrACP), or zinc-stabilized ACP (ZnACP) into a sintered PLGA microsphere matrix and then characterized to determine the effect of the minerals on the in vitro differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a porous microsphere matrix with calcium phosphate powders distributed on the surface of the microspheres. Measurements of mechanical properties indicated that incorporation of 0.5 wt% calcium phosphates resulted in a 30% decrease in compressive modulus. When cells were cultured in the scaffolds, composite ACP scaffolds stimulated proliferation and ALP activity, while HAP scaffolds stimulated osteoblast gene expression. Overall, the results of this work indicate the addition of calcium phosphate minerals to PLGA scaffolds supported cell growth and stimulated osteogenic differentiation, making the scaffolds a promising alternative for bone tissue regeneration.
- Doctoral Dissertations